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Lauren Moulder ’08 explores possibilities for universal health care in the United States

Lauren Moulder ’08 (Eden Prairie, Minn.) is a double major in economics & business and French. She is working on an honors thesis exploring possibilities for universal health care in the United States under the guidance of Susan Averett, Dana Professor and head of economics and business, and Rose Marie Bukics, Jones Professor of Economics and Business. In the following paragraphs, she provides an account of her research.

This semester I have been working on an honors thesis focusing on the possible success of and the costs associated with instituting a universal health care system in the United States. The topic is of interest to me because it is both a highly important and timely issue. I am working with the economics and business department, and Professor Averett and Professor Bukics are serving as co-directors for my thesis. They have been extremely helpful and encouraging throughout the process and it has been a wonderful opportunity to work with both of them.

Initially, I was interested in comparing the United States health care system with that of France alone because of my studies here at Lafayette and my time abroad in France. Professor Averett and Professor Bukics helped me to identify other countries of interest: Britain and Canada. These countries were chosen because they have similar economies in terms of development but also diverse universal health care systems. The role of government and cultural characteristics that distinguish each country will help identify the drivers behind their current health care systems, and whether the United States could successfully institute a universal system.

During the later half of this semester, I have focused on writing a literature review and collecting data needed to specify and estimate an econometric model of the determinants of health care expenditure. Much time has been spent researching, and I owe a great deal of thanks to Terese Heidenwolf, associate director for research and instructional services, for her help in identifying and obtaining additional sources of information.

I was interested in pursuing an honors thesis because I wanted a different and challenging learning experience, and it certainly has provided me with this.

Conducting an honors thesis highlights the importance of flexibility and perseverance. When the information that I hoped could be found is not accessible, it is important to reevaluate what is needed and to try and uncover an alternative solution rather than immediately stop and start over with a new idea. The knowledge gained from doing an honors thesis can not only be applied to my time at Lafayette but also to life outside of academia.

Next semester will be spent writing the historical and cultural comparisons of the four countries and working with the model to simulate health care expenditures under a universal health care system.

Last fall, Moulder studied abroad in Paris and in the spring, she served an internship in London. She is a member of the Phi Beta Kappa honor society and has been involved with the Cercle Francais (French Club) and volunteered with the Kids in the Community program through the Landis Community Outreach Center. Having completed internships with the Hope Chest for Breast Cancer in Minnesota, Citigroup in London, and Merrill Lynch in New York City, Moulder will be working as a first year analyst in the Equity Capital Markets group of Merrill Lynch upon graduation this spring.

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