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University of Pennsylvania

U.S. Health Law Fundamentals

University of Pennsylvania via Coursera


This course explores how statutes, regulations, common law, and market forces help or hinder three major goals of policy makers: increasing access, reducing cost, and improving quality. We will examine the Supreme Court’s rulings on the ACA and other legal aspects of modern health care reform. Learners who successfully complete this course will be able to describe the laws, regulations, common law and market forces that shape our health care system and identify areas where ideas and innovation are needed; explain the malpractice system and how it influences medical practice; and analyze legal aspects of the ACA.


  • Introduction to the U.S. Legal System, EMTALA
    • This introductory module begins with an overview of the U.S. legal system as context for the complex patchwork that is U.S. health law. We then look in detail at how administrative law functions to regulate modern medical care. Then we take a close look at our first specific law - EMTALA, which guarantees screening and stabilization in emergency situations.
  • Formation and Termination, Privacy and Confidentiality
    • The second module closely examines the doctor-patient relationship: how it is formed, terminated, and in some cases, abandoned. We then examine the rise of conscientious objection as a right of medical providers.
  • Quality Control
    • This module explores the various mechanisms in place to ensure quality control in the U.S. healthcare system, including licensure and accreditation as a preventative measure, and tort law and liability as a remedial measure.
  • Medicare, Medicaid, and The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act
    • This final module focuses on the role of the federal government in administering Medicare and Medicaid as well as the effects of the recently passed Affordable Care Act.

Taught by

Theodore Ruger


4.9 rating at Coursera based on 215 ratings

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