Why does healthcare account for over 17% of all spending in the United States? The primary objective of this course is to allow for an introductory understanding of the overall structure and functioning of the American healthcare system. Students will learn how the system is organized and the roles of essential stakeholders including the government, purchasers, payers, regulators, providers, patients, and the public. The rapidly changing dynamics of healthcare financing and access will be reviewed in the context of the newly enacted healthcare reform legislation. Diverse and essential aspects of the healthcare system will be discussed including its workforce, efforts to improve care quality and lower costs, and the increasing roles of population care management and information technology. Cross-national comparisons will be explored. An emphasis will be placed on the practical aspects of managing healthcare organizations and the public’s health.