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Trillion Dollar Questions

Big topics. Honest discussions. Expert solutions.

Trillion Dollar Questions

A popular idiom in the United States refers to tricky problems without simple solutions as "64 dollar questions." As a concept, it needs an update.

These days, the world's most complex problems would more accurately be labeled Trillion Dollar Questions. Not because they are solely questions with massive economic impacts, but because solving them would be enormously—even incomprehensibly—valuable. Solving them would change the world.

Trillion Dollar Questions exist across many areas of research and policy. By nature, they are interdisciplinary problems, requiring diverse viewpoints, novel approaches, and an understanding of how we got here.

In this ongoing series, Heinz College experts will convene solutions-oriented conversations with colleagues from across academia, government, and media to address the Trillion Dollar Questions that will shape the next century.

  • Health Care: Mission Impossible?

    Dysfunction in the U.S. health care system affects much more than just doctors and hospitals. Nearly one out of every five dollars spent in the U.S. goes to health care, and yet key metrics of quality lag behind other countries. 

    The problems in American health care are interconnected and not solely about money and politics. And they are high stakes problems, ranging from racial disparities and anti-competitive behavior to gaps in insurance coverage and billions of dollars in wasteful spending. These issues are detrimental for patients, and for the country as a whole.

    This panel, moderated by Margot Sanger-Katz from the New York Times, brought some of the nation's top health policy experts together to discuss achievable solutions.

    Mission Impossible? How to Fix U.S. Healthcare
    Can U.S. healthcare be saved, or is the patient beyond all hope?

    Thursday, July 15 

    Margot Sanger-Katz Margot Sanger-Katz, Moderator
    Healthcare Correspondent, The Upshot
    The New York Times


    Katherine Baicker Katherine Baicker
    Dean and Emmett Dedmon Professor
    Harris School of Public Policy
    University of Chicago 

    Zack Cooper Zack Cooper
    Associate Professor, Institution for Social and Policy Studies
    Yale School of Public Health
    Yale University 

    Martin Gaynor Martin Gaynor
    E.J. Barone University Professor of Economics and Public Policy
    Heinz College of Information Systems and Public Policy
    Carnegie Mellon University 

    Shelley White-Means Shelley White-Means
    Professor and Executive Director of Consortium for Health Education
    Economic Empowerment and Research (CHEER)
    University of Tennessee Health Science Center