Health Policy and Politics - Role of Government and Politics in Health Policy

Lecturer(s): Prof. Andrew Street, Prof. Giuliano Masiero, Prof. Fabrizio Mazzonna
Location: Lugano


The health care sector is extremely complex, and this gives rise to a number of regulatory issues. These concern how the health system should be financed, how healthcare providers should be paid, and how performance should be evaluated. The objective of the course is to give students an introduction to: how health systems are financed; to the regulation of the supply-side of the system, including payment arrangements and performance measurement; to the role of government in influencing demand for healthcare, including encouraging healthy behaviours; the complexities of evaluating policy and performance; and the contribution that health economics can make to the development of health policy.


At the end of the module, the students will have an understanding of:

  • How the health system is financed and organised and of the key relationships between different parts of the system
  • Different conceptualisations of equity and social welfare functions, how to assess distributions distribution of health needs and use, and of the role of the State in correcting distributional differences
  • Be familiar with principal-agent models and how these can be applied to the regulatory setting, of the role of regulation in the health system and the nature of the regulatory problem.
  • How the local variation in health care services is related to doctors’ practice and prescribing behavior, as well as broader health services organization and related incentives
  • The evidence regarding the sources of the large variation in medical practice and prescribing behaviour and how government policies can set up incentives to reduce it
  • The idea of ‘yardstick competition’, the challenges involved in designing optimal reimbursement systems and the relative strengths and weaknesses of different payment mechanisms.
  • The design of pay-for-performance models, the history of health outcome measurement, the value of making health outcome information publicly available and the complexities of evaluating policy initiatives in non-experimental settings
  • The relationship between health and income at individual and national level, of the health and economic impacts of coronavirus and of strategies to balance the health and economic consequences
  • The trade-off in providing health insurance, while maintaining accessibility and affordability of health care and its financing. Along with the welfare implications of health care insurance for society, particularly the evidence for the effects of insurance on health and health care utilisation.


Please click here for the program.


Local Coordinator: Fabrizio Mazzonna


Tuition fee

Registration (see course list)

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