The University of Newcastle, Australia
Not currently offered
Course code



10 units


6000 level

Course handbook


Economics considers how best to use our limited resources to satisfy our unlimited wants and needs. Health economics is the application of economics to health and health care. After an introduction to economics, the course covers key issues in health economics, including:

• Who should pay for health care?

• Does free or subsidised health care increase our demand for health care?

• Public versus private health insurance;

• The incentives associated with the different methods of paying doctors and hospitals;

• The conflicting objectives of government in the market for pharmaceuticals (to ensure access to affordable, safe and effective medicines and to encourage research and development and employment in the pharmaceutical sector);

• Reform to the organisation and financing of health care to improve equity, quality and efficiency in health care; and

• Recent reforms to health care in Australia and other countries.


Not currently offered.

This Course was last offered in Semester 1 - 2019.

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of the course students will be able to:

1. Recognise key economic concepts and understand their relevance to health care;

2. Understand why governments intervene in the health care sector to provide access to safe, effective and affordable health care;

3. Understand the importance of insurance in health;

4. Assess the impact of different financial incentives for consumers, doctors, hospitals and other participants in the health care sector;

5. Evaluate changes to health care policies and health care reforms; and

6. Describe key issues in health economics, based on examples from the Australian and other health care systems.


Topics are covered in six modules:

  • Module 1 An Introduction to Economic Theory and Economic Thinking
  • Module 2 Public Health & Equity
  • Module 3 Health Care Systems: Organisation and Financing
  • Module 4 Health Care Inputs: Doctors and Pharmaceuticals
  • Module 5 The Economics of Hospital Care
  • Module 6 Health Care Reform

Assumed knowledge

No prior training in economics is required.

Assessment items

Written Assignment: Assignment 1

Written Assignment: Assignment 2

Project: Final Project