Global Health Systems: Fixing the Underlying Problems of the Broken American Health System (Chinese)

***This event was hosted in Chinese on March 9, 2021; a link to the event recording can be found in the “Resources” section below. More information about the English-language encore event held on April 1, 2021 is available here.***

Global Health Systems Series

As countries seek to improve the way their health systems function, international approaches to reform serve as an important source of lessons for achieving outcomes and avoiding pitfalls. The China Health Partnership invites leading experts to discuss the successes and failures of worldwide health systems to promote mutual learning in support of health reform efforts in China and the broader global community.

Event Description

Health expenditures in the United States reached 17.7% of GDP in 2019, higher than any other country in the world. Yet the U.S. healthcare system consistently lags other advanced economies in terms of quality, access, efficiency, and other performance indicators. What is wrong with the healthcare system in the United States, and WHY are its costs so disproportionate to the outcomes it generates? Do viable solutions to these challenges exist, and what would it take to implement them?

Dr. William Hsiao analyzed the current state of the U.S. healthcare system and looked to the success of national health insurance programs in other countries to draw globally-relevant lessons. He also addressed the potential of proposals like “Medicare for All” to improve the health of the U.S. population and discussed obstacles to healthcare reform based on his experience designing a single-payer system for the State of Vermont.

  • Speaker: Dr. William Hsiao is K.T. Li Professor of Economics, Emeritus, at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. He is a leading international expert on universal health insurance, which he has studied for more than forty years. He has been actively engaged in designing health system reforms and universal health insurance programs across the globe, including in the United States, Taiwan, China, Colombia, Poland, Vietnam, Hong Kong, Sweden, Cyprus, Uganda and most recently for Malaysia and South Africa. Dr. Hsiao has been appointed by California’s Governor Gavin Newsom to serve on the Healthy California for All Commission, which is charged with developing feasible health system reform for California.
  • Moderator: Dr. Winnie Yip, Professor of Global Health Policy and Economics; Director, Harvard China Health Partnership


  • A recording of the event is available here.
  • Two articles highlighting some of Professor Hsiao’s work associated with single-payer systems are available in Foreign Affairs here and in Politico here.
  • Information on the English-language version of this event held on April 1, 2021 is available here.