Rice previously served as a faculty at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He served the UCLA campus as Vice Chancellor for Academic Personnel from 2006 to 2011. He also served as editor of the journal Medical Care Research and Review from 1994 to 2000 and is an elected member of the National Academy of Medicine (previously Institute of Medicine).
Rice is a health economist, having received his doctorate in the Department of Economics at the University of California at Berkeley. His areas of interest include national health care systems, competition and regulation, behavioral economics, physicians’ economic behavior, health insurance, and the Medicare program. He has authored several books, including Health Insurance Systems: An International Comparison, published in 2021. The fifth edition of his book, The Economics of Health Reconsidered, was published in 2023. The second edition of his book: United States of America: Health Systems Review, was published in 2020.
Americans spend more on health care than any other people — about one-sixth of our nation’s GDP. According to Thomas Rice, Ph.D., at UCLA’s Fielding School of Public Health, our health care expenses are double that of other wealthy nations, like Germany, Japan and the U.K.
“We spend over $4 trillion in the United States each year on health care. It's a large chunk of the entire world spending on health care, around 40%. But if you look at it per person, we spend about $12,500 per person per year on health care,"" he told NBCLX.