The Economics of Health Care - Online economics course| Arts and Science ONLINE

The Economics of Health Care

Image of a stethoscope on the keyboard of a laptop.
ECON 243/3.0

An economic analysis of modern health care institutions, organizations, and markets, both generically and in the Canadian context. A discussion of current Canadian health policy debates and various policy options and reform proposals.

Learning Outcomes

Part A: Introduction to Healthcare Systems

Part B: Demand Side

  1. Individual’s Demand for Health
  2. Demand for Health Insurance
  3. Physician as Patient’s Agent

Part C: Supply Side

  1. Physicians and Nurses
  2. Hospitals
  3. Nursing Homes vs. Homecare
  4. Pharmaceuticals

Part D: Healthcare Systems

  1. System Design
  2. Inequalities in Provision
  3. Non-acute Care: Prevention and Chronic Disease Management


  • By the end of this course, you will be able to:
  • Distinguish between Beveridgean and Bismarckian health systems;
  • Explain the correlation between high risk individuals / behaviours and health insurance costs;
  • Describe how physicians exhibit altruism and the effect this has on healthcare delivery;
  • Describe how payment methods effect physicians’ motivations;
  • Describe differences between solo and group medical practices;
  • List self-regulatory and external regulatory actors and factors in health systems;
  • Describe the differing perspectives and motivations of physicians and hospital administrators;
  • Explain what contributes to hospital wait times;
  • Describe differing pharmacare policies in Beveridgean versus Bismarckian health systems;
  • List the key policy issues regarding long-term care for the elderly;
  • Describe recent reform initiatives in healthcare policy;
  • Contrast the Canadian and American health care systems.


The course covers the economic analysis of healthcare. The demand and supply components are separately analyzed and then assembled as healthcare system as all real-life healthcare emerges under mixed and regulated systems. Institutional and organizational aspects of the health care systems are examined with an eye to policy-making. Since health care is largely a private good, economic analysis would then prescribe private provision on efficiency grounds. However, unlike most other goods and services, its provision is never left entirely to markets in any country, mostly on equity grounds but, since health insurance markets are typically riddled with informational problems potentially causing market failures, the case for public intervention may be strengthened. Healthcare is typically provided under mixed systems. For instance, with private but not-for-profit hospitals and private but contracted physicians, Canada exhibits a mixed system.

The course includes a description of different health care systems and of the structural and organizational arrangements within each system. Moreover, parts of the Canadian system requiring fixes will be analyzed. For instance, budgetary devolution, hospital reorganizations and de-hospitalization, private clinics, primary care reorganization and evolving physician payment systems, long-term care, emergency room overcrowding, technology transfer, spatial access to care, and pharmacare are amongst topics to be covered.


Course Resources


SOLUS is Queen’s Student On-Line University System. You’ll have access to a SOLUS account once you become a Queen’s student. You’ll use SOLUS to register for courses, add and drop courses, update your contact information, view financial and academic information, and pay your tuition.

About OnQ

onQ is Queen's online learning platform. You'll log into onQ to access your course. All materials related to your course—notes, readings, videos, recordings, discussion forums, assignments, quizzes, groupwork, tutorials, and help—will be on the onQ site.

About Credit Units

Queen’s courses are weighted in credit units. A typical one-term course is worth 3.0 units, and a typical two-term course is worth 6.0 units. You combine these units to create your degree. A general (three-year) BA or BSc requires a total of 90 credit units.

Computer Requirements

To take an online course, you’ll need a high speed internet connection as well as a microphone and speakers to be able to watch videos, hear sounds, and participate in interactive online activities. A webcam is recommended but not necessary.

System Requirements:

Computer Specifications

  • Windows 8.1 or newer
  • OSX 10.13 (High Sierra) or newer
  • Dual Core 2 GHz processor
  • 4 GB RAM
  • Soundcard
  • USB Headset
  • Webcam

Supported Browsers

  • Chrome (preferred - latest version)
  • Firefox (latest version)
  • Safari is not recommended as it causes several known issues in onQ
  • Edge is not recommended as it causes several known issues in onQ

Internet Connection

  • Wired high speed access: Cable or better
  • Wifi is not recommended


  • Latest version

Media Player

  • Flash (latest version)

Adobe Reader

  • Latest Version


The deadlines for new applications to Queen’s Arts and Science Online courses are in our Upcoming Application Dates section.

Grading Scheme

The information below is intended for undergraduate students in the Faculty of Arts and Science. Academic Regulations in other Faculties may differ.

Letter Grade Grade Point

GPA Calculators
Have your SOLUS grade report handy and then follow the link to the Arts and Science GPA calculators.

How does this affect my academics?
See the GPA and Academic Standing page.

Follow the link above for an explanation of how the GPA system affects such things as the Dean’s Honour List, requirements to graduate, and academic progression.

Frequently Asked Questions on the Grading Scheme
Please follow this link to the FAQ's

Tuition Fees

Tuition fees vary depending when you start, your year, faculty, and program. Fees for Summer Term 2018 first-year Distance Career Arts & Science Domestic students are as follows: for a 3.0-unit course, $685.90; for a 6.0-unit course, $1371.80 See also Tuition and Fees.

Campus Bookstore

All textbooks can be purchased at Queen’s Campus Bookstore.

Non-Queen’s Students

All Queen’s Arts and Science Online courses are open to students at other universities. Before applying as a visiting student, request a Letter of Permission from your home university that states that you have permission to take the course and apply it to your degree. See also Apply.

Academic Integrity

Please see Queen’s policy statement on academic integrity for information on how to complete an online course honestly.