Medical Economics

An Integrated Approach to the Economics of Health

Konrad Obermann, Christian Thielscher

£70.00  |  $99.00
ISBN 9781788211895
£24.99  |  $35.00
ISBN 9781788211901
£24.99  |  $35.00
ISBN 9781788211918
320 pages   |  240 x 170mm   |  02 December 2021


"A fascinating introduction to health economics, blending genuine expertise in both medicine and economics. Everything that medics need to know about economics, and everything that economists need to know about medicine."  – Richard Cookson, Professor of Health Economics, University of York

"Obermann and Thielscher provide us with a novel take on the messy, complex business of health policy, compiling perspectives from economics, epidemiology, medicine and psychology. From Markov models, price elasticity, uncertainty and marginal analysis to theories of political justice, strategies to nudge healthy behaviour, and questions such as whether a dictatorship in health is on the rise, this book is essential reading for those looking for a tour de force of medical economics." – Matthew Jowett, Senior Health Financing Specialist, World Health Organization

"Highly recommended. An excellent reference for policy-makers, public health workers and social reformers seeking to improve healthcare for their citizens." – Manuel M. Dayrit MD, former Secretary of Health, Republic of the Philippines


Health economics has become an established field of enquiry over recent years and is now an important contributor to normative health policy, and decisions concerning the allocation of resources and the quality of healthcare provision across the world.

Medical Economics, written by two physicians who are also qualified economists, introduces readers to the core economic considerations in healthcare provision and management. Addressing concerns that are relevant to both the individual and to public health, the authors draw on a wider range of economic tools and analytical frameworks than typically offered by standard textbooks. Combining thought experiments with real-world examples they illustrate the healthcare challenges facing today’s policy-makers.

The book is aimed specifically at courses in medicine, public health, and healthcare management and administration, but also at economists looking for a broader perspective on healthcare systems, including healthcare financing, markets, the role of the state and other macroeconomic considerations, evaluation methods, healthcare technology, paying for medical care, health insurance and ethical issues.


Introduction: approaching health economics

Part I Health, healthcare, and healthcare systems
1. Understanding “health” in health economics
2. From disease to care
3. Ethics, values and the idea of a good life
4. Medicine as a business: caring for patients and managing a business
5. Financing healthcare
6. The relation between macroeconomics and health
7. Comparing health systems

Part II Health economic theory
8. Approaching healthcare from an economic point of view
9. The standard in current economics: neoclassical economics
10. Markets, market failure, state intervention and state failure
11. Options to finance medical care
12. Evaluation methods in health economics
13. Health technology and health technology assessment
14. Paying for medical care: balancing appropriateness, quality, and cost

Part III From theory to practice: using medical economics to improve global health
15. Medical economics: an applied interdisciplinary science that looks at evidence, considers complexity and implements what works
16. Global health and social health protection
17. Towards rational financing for healthcare
18. Priority setting and essential health service packages
19. The Covid-19 outbreak and the role of medical economics in responding to global health threats
Epilogue: moving beyond the commoditization of health and making better use of the "dismal science"

Author Information

Konrad Obermann is Senior Staff Scientist at the Mannheim Institute of Public Health, Heidelberg University. He is a medical doctor and economist with over 25 years experience in clinical care, research and strategic planning. His particular research interests are in international health economics, health system development and healthcare financing.

Christian Thielscher is Director of the Competence Center for Medical Economics at FOM University, Essen, Germany. He is editor of the successful 2-volume textbook on health economics, Medizinokonomie (Springer, 2015).

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