A healthcare policy can be described as a set of regulations and rules which are put in place to regulate the shape and operations in health care delivery. Creation of the health policy involves three steps (Longest, 2016). The first stage is the formulation stage where ideas and information are collected. After that, all the ideas and research from experts are analyzed and put together. The second step is the implementation stage where collected information is disseminated and the best policy plan is put into place. This stage requires authorization from the relevant authorities in the government to put the proposed policy into action. The final stage is the evaluation stage where the entire process is reviewed and its results analyzed. If the policy meets the required targets and objectives, it is adopted by law. Nurses and other stakeholders play a major role in the implementation and preparation of the policy.
Eventually, healthcare has shifted towards being a government dominion. The shift was encouraged by the idea of equal right to healthcare which was articulated by Roosevelt in 1944 (Stevens, 2008). In an address to Congress, he stated that adequate medical healthcare and enjoying good health was part of basic rights. Another milestone in healthcare policy was marked in 1965 when President Johnson established Medicare, a provision that provided medical cover to citizens over 65 years. Recently, ObamaCare was enforced by President Barack Obama which has also been very significant to the health care sector. These milestones have eased the burden in accessing medical services, a move that has helped nurse perform more efficiently.
The health care policy has been significant in providing standardization of the daily activities in the health sector. Furthermore, it provides clarity in information regarding legal liabilities, regulatory requirement and health and safety. Additionally, policy sets a specific plan of action which can be used to determine expected outcomes. The healthcare policy is therefore significant as it communicates to various employees, for example nurses, the desired goals of the organization such as delivery of cost effective and safe health care (Teitbaum & Wilensky, 2007).
The government plays a major role in the healthcare policy as it holds the highest responsibility in regulation of all areas in health care (Maybin, 2016). For example, it provides financial support to the disabled and indigent by way of comprehensive inclusive programs. Moreover, the government implements its SCHIP and Medicaid programs to children and the elderly. Additionally, the government subsidizes health care costs for uninsured individuals. The state also bears the responsibility of protecting the general health of its citizens through promoting healthy behavior, controlling communicable diseases, monitoring the country’s health status, protecting the environment and developing efficient health care policies.
There are various stakeholders who are involved in formulation of the health policy (Erickson & Kessler, 2013). One of those stakeholders is the public/patient who is usually considered to provide information regarding access, quality and affordability. A good health policy should put all these factors into consideration to ensure that it is accommodating to all citizens. Moreover, health care providers such as nurses are considered as major stakeholders in the policy formulation process. Formulation of the policy should aim at compensating the medical practitioners fairly. Finally, insurance providers as well as the government cannot be ignored in the policy process. The reason is because the two parties are the main financiers of the health sectors.
An ethical policy should free from manipulation and political interference (Goldberg, 2017). In 1994, President Clinton Task Force developed a number of values and principles which included equal access to healthcare insurance, equal benefits, fair procedures, shared burdens, comprehensive benefits and efficient management in health institutions. In 2007, the Ethical Force Program of the American Medical Association came up with 3 core ethical principles which included justice, compassion and equality of opportunity in accessing health care. These ethical guidelines serve to ensure that ethics are observed in the health sector.
Erickson, K. M., & Kessler, J. B. (2013). The articulation effect of government policy: Health insurance mandates versus taxes. Cambridge, Mass.
Goldberg, D. S. (2017). Public health ethics and social determinants of health. Cham: Springler
Longest, B. B., & Association of University Programs in Health Administration. (2016). Health Policymaking in the United States.
Maybin, J. (2016). Producing Health Policy: Knowledge and Knowing In Government Policy Work
Stevens, R. A. (2008). History and Health Policy in the United States: The Making of a Health Care Industry, 1948-2008. Social History of Medicine, 21(3), 461-483
Teitbaum, J., & Wilensky, S. (2007). Essentials of health policy and law. Boston: Jones and Bartlett