A policy is a form of plan, governing principle, or a course of action adopted by the government to improve life quality and to solve problems affecting the citizens. There are five steps in the policymaking process, which are agenda building, formulation and adoption, implementation, evaluation, and termination. A problem existing in society forms the agenda. Thereafter, an approach to solve the problem is formulated as a bill, which is adopted when the congress approves it. In the fourth stage, the policies are carried out by the institutions. Finally, the practicality of the policy is determined using a cost benefit analysis. A policy is terminated if it has no significance in solving a problem raised (Edelstein, 2014). This paper compares and contrasts policymaking in the local, federal, and state government. In addition, it explores the role of the private sector in health policymaking as well as the shareholders involved in the process.
Comparison of Policy Making in State, Federal, and Local Government
The United States government operates under the federalism principle. It has two distinct body regulating citizens, which are the state and the federal government. The US congress has been granted express powers to make laws by the constitution. However, laws made by the federal government are limited by the constitution. The state government has general powers to make policies that apply to all states within its boundaries. However, some health policies may not apply to all places as per Article I, Section 10 of the constitution.
The U.S constitution gives power to the national government to make laws, which is divided among the executive, legislative, and judiciary. The federal government has also adopted this organization. Regarding health, the legislature makes policies and provides resources for implementation in both governments (Shi, 2014). The executive and other agencies must follow the legislative rules by implementing and enforcing it. The local government is classified into four groups, which are the municipalities, counties, school districts, and special districts.
Public health departments in both the federal and state government make laws to adjudicate disputes, regulate public behavior, and interpret regulations and statutes. It also ensures that companies obey health and safety standards. On the other hand, the local government makes health policies by signing treaties with the federal government. The localities have self-government powers as per the Home-rule statutes. Therefore, it creates rules concerning health and education, counseling, and access to quality health care services to govern the locals.
The Role of Public Sector in Policy Making
The private sector complements health policy creation through the sharing of knowledge, lobbying efforts, and contributions to campaigns. Their ability to share information specific to industries and expertise leverage its importance. Public sector officials obtain desired knowledge through partnering with members of the private sector. In addition, their perspective on policy matters is influenced indirectly through the exchange of ideas. Some policies favor private industries because they are made as a result of pressure this firms.
The private sector influences policy making through the contribution of finances during election campaigns. Their monetary contribution indirectly buys public sector officials votes and with extension political influence (Edelstein, 2014). Generally, financial support and donations from corporations during elections enables candidates who favor them to benefit. Private companies also use lobbying to voice their concerns during policymaking. Like-minded organizations usually combine to form lobby consortiums that influence government officials. These firms shape public policies as per their preferences through providing thoughtful leadership, petitioning for firms rating approval, and monetary support.
Stakeholders in Health Policymaking
Health policies are plans, actions, and decisions that are undertaken to attain specific health care goals. In care organizations, the main stakeholders are governments, patients, insurance companies, pharmaceutical firms, physicians, staff, and social services. The insurance companies sell health coverage plans to the patients or governmental intermediaries. The Pharmaceutical industry develops and provide medicines, which are prescribed by the doctors. The nurses and physicians provide medical care to patients. The government provides subsidies and regulates the operation of the health care industry while patients receives medication from the hospital.
Importance of Seeking Input from Stakeholders
Stakeholders play a significant role in the healthcare industry. However, their goals vary. For instance, health care providers aim is to deliver effective quality health care to the patients. Contrary, the insurance companies, and the pharmaceutical are in business and they are after making profits. The government wants to provide subsidized care to the citizen. Policies made should not be detrimental to any of the shareholder’s business (Shaw, Asomugha, Conway & Rein, 2014), thus it is important to include all of them in decision-making processes.
The stakeholders usually have more understanding of issues affecting their business, they also know the needs, care, and outcome of rules in their organization. Policies have to be implemented successful after formulation. The strategies made in absence of a stakeholder may be rejected if it does not meet the shareholder expectation hence rendering it obsolete. Additionally, a situation may look different when observed under different perspectives.
The aim of health policies in both federal, state, and local governments is to promote and protect community health. Private sectors play a significant role in the development of sound public health policies. However, it influences the rulemaking process to their advantage at the expense of citizens. Therefore, it is vital to subject bills to neutral organizations and various firms before processing it into a policy.
Edelstein, B. L. (2014). The roles of federal legislation and evolving health care systems in promoting medical-dental collaboration. Journal of the California Dental Association, 42(1), 19-23.
Shaw, F. E., Asomugha, C. N., Conway, P. H., & Rein, A. S. (2014). The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act: opportunities for prevention and public health. The Lancet, 384(9937), 75-82.
Shi, L. (2014). Introduction to health policy. Health Administration Press.