Public Policy Health





Public Policy: Health

Public policies are an essential part of any country. Policies fall into different categories depending on the purpose they serve. For example, distributive policies are meant to allocate resources fairly, regulatory policies control certain behavior, and constituent policies outline the composition of the government (Anderson). Policies are relevant because they represent and safeguard the interests of the people. Some of the parties involved in the formulation and formation of public policies include the public, arms of government such as Congress, the executive, and the courts, as well as special rights groups and activists. The involvement of such a broad group in the formulation of public policy helps to ensure that all groups in society feel represented, and in areas where there are contentions, these groups can raise awareness on the necessary changes (Anderson). Some critical public policy areas in the United States include healthcare, social welfare, education, foreign affairs and national security, criminal justice, government operations, and the environment. Healthcare is a central public policy area because it affects every American citizen, and many struggle with the expensive costs of medical care. To address the issue of health insurance, the Obama administration implemented the Affordable Care Act to ensure that all Americans have access to healthcare.

Political leaders have a lot of say in what public policies are implemented. They usually have the interests of the people they represent, and “to assure support they often seek out and identify themselves with issues that are important to large portions of the populace. (Cobb & Elder 909) President Obama took a particular interest in the healthcare system of the country. Millions of people had no health insurance, and paying out of pocket is out of reach for many. To ensure that every American has access to the medical care that they need, the Obama administration proposed the Affordable Care Act that faced severe criticism from many. President Obama ran on the Democratic ticket, and the majority of the supporters of the healthcare plan were Democrats. Republicans opposed the Act vehemently.

When House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other Democrats in the House of Representatives first revealed the plan to overhaul the healthcare system significantly, many braced for a tough fight ahead. Sure enough, the bill faced many hurled before being passed into law on the twenty-third of March, 2010. One of the staunchest proponents of the Bill, Massachusetts Senator Ted Kennedy, unfortunately, passed away and put the Democrats 60-seat majority in jeopardy. A major event on the seventh of November, 2009, saw 219 Democrats vote in support on the Act, with 179 Republicans and one Democrat against it in Congress. A similar trend followed in the Senate on the twenty-fourth of December where 60 Democrats supported the bill, and 39 Republicans oppose it. The twenty-first of March 2010 saw a narrow victory for the bill, with a 219-212 vote (Center 118). All Republicans voted against the bill.

The Affordable Care Act serves the needs of the public in many ways. Health insurance policies often discriminate against patients, and Obama care came in handy in regulating the insurance companies. One of the ways in which they do this is refusing to cover patients with preexisting conditions. The Affordable Care Act requires that any insurance company takes in members regardless of preexisting conditions. The second way is that insurance companies could raise premiums without notice, but under the new bill, they had to get approval from the state government before doing that. The third discriminatory practice that the Affordable Care Act wanted to eliminate was the practice of dropping patients from the insurance plan when they got sick. The Affordable Care Act was meant to ensure that every American had health insurance, as well as to reduce the cost of medical care(Center 131). For millions of the poor, unemployed, and those who could not be insured for other reasons, the Act proved to be a godsend. However, many opposed the bill, and the Trump administration has repeatedly tried to get sections of the Affordable Care Act repealed.

The Affordable Care Act’s main strength is that it allowed millions of uninsured patients to get health insurance. Healthcare is a basic need for every human, and a situation in which many in a country are uninsured is an undesirable one. Many people miss out on life-saving treatments and procedures due to the prohibitive cost of medical care. The Affordable Care Act also covers those who do not qualify for programs such as Medicare and Medicaid. One disadvantage is that those without health insurance pay a tax fine, which is expensive for people already struggling with difficult financial situations. The Affordable Care is not perfect, and there are some ways that it can be improved. One of the ways was the elimination of tax by Congress in 2019. The second thing is to change the definition of full-time employment from 30 to 40 hours a week because 30 hours are too few under the Act.

In conclusion, public policy can be an area of contention as was the Affordable Care Act. The policy can be defined as a redistributive one, as it tried to ensure that more members of society could access medical care. While the bill faced stiff opposition from the Republican Party, the Democrats managed to push through and saw the bill signed into law in 2013. Healthcare is an integral part of human welfare, and it is upon the government to ensure that it protects its citizens from astronomical costs of medical care by regulating the healthcare industry.

Works Cited

Anderson, James E. Public policymaking. Cengage Learning, 2014.

Center, Helm, et al. “A critical analysis of Obamacare: affordable care or insurance for many and coverage for few?.” Pain physician 20 (2017): 111-138.

Cobb, Roger W., and Charles D. Elder. “The politics of agenda-building: An alternative perspective for modern democratic theory.” The Journal of Politics 33.4 (1971): 892-915.