Second year MPP students Becky Kelleman and Sayan Kundu recently participated in NASPAA’s 2015 Inaugural Student Simulation Competition, held at the end of February. The teams were asked to provide a locally led “bottom up” approach to health care reform.
Nationally, 45 teams in five different regional locations—representing 93 participating schools—explored more than 4,400 different health care futures. Each health care future compared the team’s policy to a business-as-usual base run that predicts what would happen if no changes are made in the current health care system. The national winner of the competition was the team from the National Capital Region site hosted at the University of Maryland’s School of Public Policy.
Ms. Kelleman gave the following account of the event:
“I had the opportunity to participate in NASPAA’s first Student Simulation Competition in Albany, NY at the end of February. NASPAA organized the competition so that every student had the opportunity to work in a group with students from different schools. Our teams were small and diverse, numbering only 2-4 students per group, representing a dozen or so universities in the Northeast Region. We were challenged with health care policy reform and the simulation offered many policy options for implementation. Together, we worked through very difficult challenges: understanding the needs of all stakeholders in healthcare, balancing the interests of stakeholders that are underrepresented with those that are in business, while trying to create an economically feasible approach. The day had been very intense.
“Ultimately, we learned the answer to health care reform is education reform. The most effective reform, according to the simulation, addresses educating the general population on preventative care and creating programs that help disadvantaged students and families move out of poverty. Immediately, these programs are all very costly, but over a span of ten to twenty years, healthcare costs are significantly reduced.
“This simulation reinforced, for me, that policies do not operate in a vacuum. If we would like long-term sustainable change, truly comprehensive reform, we will need to engage multiple sectors. NASPAA organized a great simulation and I hope the Bloustein School continues to have a voice in this endeavor in the future.”