Role of private health insurance examined in health care debate

Contact: Mark Schwerin
Photo of Kate .


KALAMAZOO--The national insurance program Medicare and the part private health insurance plays in it will come into sharper focus next month when a Stanford University researcher visits Western Michigan University.

Dr. M. Kate Bundorf, associate professor of health research and policy at the Stanford School of Medicine, will speak at 3 p.m. Wednesday, March 14, in Room 2028 of Brown Hall. Her presentation, titled "The Role of Private Health Insurance in Medicare," is part of the 2011-12 Werner Sichel Lecture Series and is free and open to the public.

Bundorf did her undergraduate work at the University of Michigan, earned master's degrees in business administration and public health from the University of California at Berkeley and a doctoral degree from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. She came to Stanford in 1999 and serves in the Department of Health Research and Policy.

Bundorf's honors include being a Fulbright Scholar at Fudan University School of Public Health in the People's Republic of China, where she had the opportunity to give lectures at numerous Chinese universities. She is a research fellow at the National Bureau of Economic Research and also has been the principal investigator in a large number of grants and contracts dealing with health insurance and health plan choice.

Bundorf has published articles covering a wide range of issues pertaining to health insurance, including senior health care, infertility, obesity and health care costs and quality. Her current research interests include the determinants and effects of individual and purchase choices, the interaction of public and private systems of health insurance, incentives for insurers to improve health care quality and the effects of regulation in health insurance markets.

The Sichel Series is organized by the WMU Department of Economics and named in honor of longtime WMU economics professor Dr. Werner Sichel, who retired in 2004. The series is annually cosponsored by the College of Arts and Sciences, W. E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research and the Medical Humanities Workgroup of WMU.