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Health Care as an Essential Public Policy Research Paper


Public policy is the actions taken by the government and the goals that influence those actions. Public policies affect individuals in many ways, ranging from health, economic, environmental, and educational factors (Stewart, Hedge, & Lister, 2007). Health care is seen as an essential public policy.

Health care is evaluated or assessed on the aspects of publicly provided health care to the citizens of a given country. The welfare herein comprises of both curative and preventive measures, both of which are tailored towards achieving the set policies that concern the general public.

This is done by analyzing the combination of local level data and information from the public health and their welfare; individual levels of data and information are also used in the analysis. The individual data in this case is based on the how satisfactory life is, the main interest being on the health care policy.

On the broader spectrum, huge expenditures on health care systems are directly related to the life’s satisfaction derived by individuals and the general public, the generational effects being the baseline of the benefits of the public policy adopted for the variant groups and the diverse needs that need to be met in the health care sector.

The combination of the fundamental aspect of health policy can be used to ascertain the theoretical hypotheses generated from welfare effects on public health provision and how these effects differ across the different groups of population.

It is important to note that health care policy evaluation is dependent on the individuals’ political orientation, which consequently yields differences in the opinion of assessment of the problems in the public health care system policies. This research paper seeks “to address the operation ability of the health care welfare policy.

It further considers the problems associated with it as a public policy, with the evolution and evaluation of the policy being of the main focus.

These interests are assessed on the basis of how the health policy is structured to deal with emerging issues in the sector, alongside the policies and measures put in place to ensure its ability to perform, and approaches and recommendations that oversee its long term sustainability with research incorporated”.

Health Care Public Policy Problem: The Scope and Nature

The issue of health care affects everyone, ranging from families worrying about their children to government officials being worried about the increasing cost of health care. Workers, doctors, and hospitals are also concerned with the responsibility of delivering proper health care.

The value of Health care services determines the welfare state associated with them. Health care policy is considered a public policy since it is by greater extent provided by the government through the relevant agencies due to the externalities associated with it, if it is provided through the normal market model.

It is therefore non-rival and non-excludable from any individual in the population. Most of these services are mostly offered for free or at highly subsidized prices by the government (Williams & Torrens, 2007).

The welfare associated with the provision of medical care and services constitute public policy problem in this concept. An attempt to value public goods is more or less complex, and consequently requires special treatment of variables considered.

The welfare measure of any health system is followed by preference methodology from the participants in that particular package. Assessing the welfare herein is based on the individuals’ life satisfaction and health status derived from health care.

It is important to note that health is a derived demand rather than a direct demand. Health is not directly purchased, but it is rather achieved through consumption of health care services (Frey and Stutzer, 2005).

The use of life satisfaction to analyze how well a given health policy is also useful in the assessment of the contribution of private sector in the health system, thereby presenting the applicability of the private goods in the health system.

In both public and private health concerns, the bottom line is that the happiness or satisfaction derived from the activities of both parties constitutes the objective that the public policies for health care purport to play.

For the challenges faced therein, counter measures are formulated and implemented based on the already available data on public health care services and the expected achievements for the sector, right from the goals and mission of such policies.

The major problem in the assessment of the welfare of health care services and the general public policies developed for such purposes is that the value to assign with the general feeling of the individuals is difficult to ascertain.

It has been evident in other studies that the Haw-Thorne effect makes it difficult for individuals to respond to stimulus, especially when they realize the data is meant to achieve some results for the health sector (Bjornskoy, Dreher, and Fisher, 2007). Therefore, they determine how policies are to be structures, either positively or negatively.

Public Policy Evolution

Health care policy formulation and implementation has been characterized by government’s interests since mid-1970s. These concerns were tailored by the objective of the governments to improve the welfare of the larger population in a country.

Health care systems have been viewed as primary legal and objective tools that effectively communicate needs and achievements of both the government and the population for whom these policies are meant to serve. On the same note, health care professionals have played an important role in the determination of end-of-life interests for the population since that time (Reeve & Peerbhoy, 2007).

The interaction of all parties involved in the process spell out the goals, objectives and proper instructions to be followed in the development of a health care system.

Further, a proxy decision maker is identified by the rules and regulations that govern the system, especially in times of incapacity, so as to ensure the coherence in the general interest of pursuing these policies. Over the years, improvement and reforms have been considered the fundamentals of health care policy.

End-of-life legal landscape evolvement and the advance directives laws have provided continuity in the evolution of policies that focus on health care systems and their welfare to the society. Paradigm shifts have also tailored change for the betterment of health sector, alongside statutory backup that traces its roots back in history and further relates that to the present.

Research and development in the health care and health system welfare has led to the emergence of strategies that are tailored towards improving the usefulness and evaluation of usability in the health sector.

The effectiveness and efficiency of the evaluations are dependent on the specific frameworks adopted by the government on the implementation of the health care services and the control over the personnel charged with the responsibility of overseeing the success of the system (Reeve & Peerbhoy, 2007).

Furthermore, evaluation is mainly based on the experimental procedures in the sector, where each stage of the experiment provides an evaluation model of the associated results at that particular stage. Pilot studies can be done before the actual study in to determine the variables that better fit the experimentation and further evaluation of the policies.

Actors in evaluation

Cost s– the cost of evaluating a policy should not exceed the general benefit associated with it to the public and its long term welfare should be based on relatively to the next several generations.

Roles – the evaluation procedure should be tailored towards ascertaining if the policy will actually meet its purpose and how it is sustainable.

Variable relations – public policy evaluation should incorporate all the aspects of the health care system that it purports to serve, determining the relevant relationship among the variables, and consequently outlining how the variables affect each other under different factor treatments that are likely to occur in the health sector.

The Intergovernmental Structure and Political Concerns

Health policy is essentially a member states competence. However, the European Union has presently raised some alarm and some uncertainties concerning the way activities are being carried out in both the pharmaceutical industries and public health interests.

An indispensable aspect in the health care policy in the European Union is the balance between the public health and the health care on one hand and industrial policy on the other hand. The public policy approach tries to take great interest on the problems, the actors involved, the resources used, and also on the patterns on interaction in EU’s health policy (Reeve & Peerbhoy, 2007).

The government is implicated to ascertain on the way the decisions are made and implemented, and the impacts the policies within the health care welfare will affect the community. In enhancing better health care to the entire community, it is the role of the government to analyze and select the actors involved in the health sector.

In addition, the government should oversee how different responsibilities and roles have been assigned to different interest groups and whether the requirements are met. It is also in this aspect that the role of national governments and EU institutions is determined and how well they interact within the laid down health care policies (Weible, 2007).

The Approaches to Policy Setting

Policies formulated and implemented within health care takes place as a result of the interactive process that happens between numerous key players or actors guided by their own interests and strategies.

Basing on the case of EU and its related health care issues, it is import to note that this is one of the sectors that is composed of different interests in opposition: public health and health care and the industrial policy.

To better understand the EU policy making process and the intergovernmental relations that exist within the health care policy, the interested groups or members have to apply for an advocacy coalition framework (ACF). As specified, this is only within the European Union context.

ACF gives a theoretical understanding of the interaction that subsists between the policy making process and intergovernmental relations within the European Union health care sector. In enhancing an effective and efficient health care, there is a need to have policy subsystem that should be dynamic and has multiple actors who structure their relationship into the advocacy coalition.

The actors involved are also moved by the policy beliefs and to an extent they may try to influence the policies by use of multiple resources and various venues. According to the views provided by ACF, healthy care policies may be perceived as a process that involves competition between a coalition of actors who advocate beliefs about the policy problems and solutions (Gask et al, 2005).

The competition that takes place is essential as it will help in maintaining the social security of the communities within the region that receives its services. Such competition must be placed within policy subsystems to remain effective in rendering services to the communities.

In essence, the policy subsystem may be defined as a set of actors who are actively concerned with implementing an issue and therefore seek to influence the public policy that is directly related to it. However, the pharmaceutical subsystem within the health care system may be polarized between a pro-industry advocacy coalition and an anti-industry advocacy coalition.

The division between these two coalitions is mainly due to their policy preferences: one of the coalitions is mainly aimed at increasing and protecting the pharmaceutical interests while the other coalition is aimed at overseeing that public health provided superimposes the industrial interests.

However, in the process of ensuring that the two coalitions work in conjunction with one another, all in the common goal of providing effective health care services, conflicts may arise.

The conflicts may be driven by normative beliefs and this may make even the implementation of the policies to be difficult. Such a problem may not persist for long, considering that the policies made in such a scenario are EU related and they are therefore established on the bases of consensus. Another advantage is that the political process involved in their formation and implementation is not usually a zero-sum game.

In such a case negotiations are required in the policies made. The basis of making negotiations will depend on the features of the political system and also on particular context factors. For instance, the higher the extent of consensus used in making the policies, the higher the rate of compromise created for incentives for broker’s action across the coalition (Reeve & Peerbhoy, 2005).

In the policy making process, a combination of both the intergovernmental negotiations and supranational centralization is necessary. The commission involved in making policies has a duty to draw up the proposal required, and then a decision on the efficiency of the proposal is passed on by the council members.

The commission is also responsible for the conflicts that may arise out of the decisions that they may have initiated which violate the rights of the council members. In making sure that the rights of the council members are not violated, the commission is compelled to involve the consensus in coming up with quality decisions regarding the policies.

If it is discovered that the policy proposals were reached upon without the involvement of the consensus, they can be blocked by intergovernmental haggling (Scharpf, 2000).

The Suggested Policy Direction that is supported by Research

According to this research, it would be essential if the members involved in the health care could be in a position to entirely change the whole system used in rendering services to the patients.

It would also be the responsibility of the commission to strategically ensure that all resources and venues essential for the quality decisions are available to avoid the deadlock.

For quality and effective policies, the commission should also suggest and encourages exchange of information and opinions among the stakeholders, supportive networks, from the public among others (Reeve & Peerbhoy, 2005).

Such changes would be very imperative in enhancing better health care for the interest of the whole public. Therefore, an adequate health care system should have an objective of enabling citizens to access quality health care in a cost effective way. Proper health care can be achieved when there are enough finances to support the costly diagnostic tests and processes, and lengthy stays for inpatients.


It is evident from the above discussion and concepts that investment in health is expensive. In this regard, increasing expenditures are directly proportional to the life satisfaction of the general public. However, differences across the population groups are evident, with the willingness to pay or invest in health varying across the groups.

These differences occur due to the fact that the willingness to pay for publicly provided private services like health is mainly non-monotonic in the level of income of the population. In essence this research paper has addressed “the operation ability of the health care policy.

It further considered the problems associated with it as a public policy, with the evolution and evaluation of the policy being of fundamental interest.

These interests were assessed on the basis of how the health policy is structured to deal with emerging issues in the sector, alongside the policies and measures put in place to ensure its functionality, and approaches and recommendations that oversee its long term sustainability with research incorporated”. In this regard, it is evident that devotion of monetary resources to public service and provision of health care is positively related to the well being of the population.


Bjornskov, C., Dreher, A., and Fischer, J. A. V. (2007). The Bigger the Better? Evidence of the exact of Government Size on Life Satisfaction around the World. Public Choice,130, 267-292.

Frey, B. S. & Stutzer, A. (2005). Happiness Research: State and Prospects. Review of Social Economy, 62, 207-228.

Gask, L., Rogers A. D., Oliver, D., May, C., & Roland, M. (2005) A qualitative Study Exploring how General Practitioners Prescribe Antidepressants. British Journal of General Practice, 53,278-283.

Reeve, J., & Peerbhoy, D. (2007). Evaluating the Evaluation: Understanding the Utility and Limitation of Evaluation as a Tool for Organizational Learning. Health Education Journal, 66 (2),120–131.

Scharpf, F. (2000). Institutions in Comparative Policy Research, Comparative Political Studies, 33, 762-790.

Stewart, J., Hedge, D. M., & Lester, J. P. (2007). Public Policy: An Evolutionary Approach (3rd ed.). Boston, MA: Thomson Wordsworth.

Weible, C. M. (2007). An Advocacy Coalition Framework Approach to Stakeholder Analysis: Understanding the Political Context of California, Marine Protected Area Policy. Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory, 17(1), 95-117.

Williams, J., & Torrens, P. (2007). Introduction to Health Services, (7th ed.). Clinton Park, NY: Delmar Thomson Learning.

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