Medicare Policy Process
December 12, 2011
John (Jay) Cutspec
Medicare Policy Process
The health care, policy-making process is composed of three major stages; the formulation stage, legislative stage, and the implementation stage. The policy process refers to the specific decisions and events that are required for a policy to be proposed, considered, and finally either implemented and/or set aside. It is an interactive process with multiple points of access providing opportunities to influence the multiple decision makers involved at each stage (Abood, 2007). Each stage presents a unique set of events for a policy to be proposed, considered, and either implemented or rejected. In the formulation stage there is an input of ideas, information, and research from government officials, citizens, and special interest groups. The issue is framed and the purpose and outcome is defined. Finally strategies are chosen and the necessary resources are identified. In the legislative stage the policy must be discussed by congress, agreed on and signed into law. In the implementation stage the policy is put into effect, human resources and funding are allocated. After a new policy is implemented, advocates, opponents, or other “interested parties” begin to consider the consequences of the decision and its implementation (Cockrel, 2007). Abood (2007), “The overall health care system, including the public and private sectors, and the political forces that affect that system are shaped by the health care, policy-making process” (The Policy Process and the Politics of Health Care). This paper will examine how the Medicare program has gone through the formulation, legislative, and implementation stage of the health care policy-making process and describe each stage of the process. To understand the Medicare program one must first understand how it came to be and the policy-making process the program has gone through. The first steps of the policy-making process is the formulation stage, and the legislation stage, where problems are identified and researched by key people, organizations, and interest groups. The problem is then outlined and the desired outcomes are defined, the best strategies are picked and the resources that are needed are identified, discussed and agreed upon by Congress. Policy formulation has a tangible outcome: A bill goes before Congress or a regulatory agency drafts proposed rules. The process continues with adoption. A policy is adopted when Congress passes legislation, the regulations become final, or the Supreme Court renders a decision in a case. ("The Policy Making Process", 2011). In 1945 President Truman sent a message to Congress seeking legislation to provide a national health insurance program that would provide coverage for the elderly. In 1948 President Truman again sent a letter to Congress stating “The greatest gap in our social security structure is the lack of adequate provision for the Nation's health. . . . I have often and strongly urged that this condition demands a national health program. The heart of the program must be a national system of payment for medical care based on well-tried insurance principles. Before Medicare was signed into law it had to go through the legislative stage, also known as the decision or adoption stage. The Medicare policy was presented to Congress that had to agree on all parts of the policy. President Truman had proposed a Medicare system that promoted a universal health care insurance system that covered all citizens. Congress repeatedly denied his policy because of the fear of socialized medicine, the opposition from special interest groups such as the American Medical Association, and democratic initiatives that wanted to provide incentives to private insurance companies to cover the elderly. By the close of the Truman Administration officials at the Social Security Administration had developed a scaled-back proposal to cover...
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