Upcoming health economics conferences will help get experts together for better data

Health economics is a field that is often at the forefront of policy making, and a University of Kansas health economist is looking forward to events that will allow for a collegial relationship between those close by to be further developed.

It’s a particular sector of the economy, and a very large one,” said David Slusky, associate professor of economics at the University of Kansas. “Like airlines or entertainment or agriculture or energy, it needs to be understood in all the particular dimensions of it.”

It’s also important to note how the cost of health care can overall determine how much money you have left afterward.

“How much you have to spend on healthcare and how insured you are affects your ability to afford the other things you want and need in your life,” Slusky said.

Slusky adds that economists think about health the way they think about other kinds of depreciating assets.

“This asset is depreciating,” said Slusky. “When it depreciates enough, you are no longer with us. Investing in your health not only allows you to live longer, but might allow you to enjoy the other things you have. You think about somebody who could get a life-saving surgery or could purchase a new vehicle or something like that, the life-saving surgery, not just gives you that. It also gives you time to drive the other vehicle you already have. That dimension makes us think about the tradeoffs differently.”

A grant received by Slusky will support two conferences. The first is a 2020 meeting at the KU Adams Alumni Center, which will be the first Kansas Health Economics Conference. The grant will also aid in
underwriting the 2021 Midwest Health Economics Conference in Lawrence. Both events will give a chance for peer review of the work of economists throughout the region.