Discuss about the Policy Power and Politics in Healthcare System.
Recent health care approaches are different from the old healthcare approaches. This was evident because the needs and demands of the healthcare over the years have changed immensely. People have become more concerned about their ailments and immediately seek for an expert’s help in place of waiting for the disease to be tackled by one. Rising awareness among people is also seen with the help of the different policies and initiatives taken by the governments. Recent study has shown that the population of the old age people is increasing along with increase in sedentary lifestyles (World Health Organisation, 2017). The number of chronic ailments is also increasing resulting in demand of expertise healthcare services. This in turn requires more funding. The occurrence of chronic diseases and expertise treatment with the use of modern technologies was not present. Therefore in the recent era, the financial cost has also found to have increased to a large extent. Therefore the Federal government has initiated activity based funding systems and national partnership agreements in order to help citizens cope with financial stress. Such initiatives were usually less in the older healthcare approaches where expenditure on healthcare was not this high (Brown et al., 2014). The recent health care approaches and the healthcare policies mainly believe in consumer empowerment and responsibility as the initiatives taken in obesity campaigns. They also stress on wellness of individuals and prevention of diseases rather than curing it after occurrence. Moreover the concept of integrated healthcare funding and management has been promoted where government relies on single or pooled sources of funding so that there can be elimination of bureaucratic cost shifting as well as duplication (Solomon et al., 2013). This was combined with more contributions from private sectors and alignment of outcomes. Unlike the older healthcare approaches, recent approaches mainly remain based on optimized care pathways that enable private and public reinvestment in more efficient care setting mix with collaboration from multidisciplinary teams to give integrated care. Moreover information enabled health networks have empowered present citizens to a greater degree.
Society plays a great role in the well being of an individual. Income inequality is found to be one of the major determinants of healthcare. Social connectedness along with sense of personal or collective efficacy also helps a person to live longer and thereby maintain better health (Berkman, Kawachi & Glymour, 2014). Researchers have stated that often the social gradient act as social determinant as it describes the extent of equity that can be practiced or defines the difference in wealth and opportunity that individuals with highest income or those with lowest income can afford in healthcare. The World Health Organization ten important social factors that have tremendous effect on life expectancy and on the health of the people are stress and early life experiences. Besides, social exclusion is one of the facts that results in huge mental impact on a person and affects his quality life (Marmot & Allen, 2014). Moreover work and unemployment are also described by WHO as the contributing social determinants of health. Availability or unavailability of social support also alters the life of a person dragging them to mental disorders like depression and anxiety. Other factors include addiction, food and transport in lives of people.
The above mentioned social determinants can affect the individuals of a nation in three different ways. Differences in exposure is the first way where due to the factors of economy, geography and many other factors, certain groups of population may be more exposed to certain disorders than others and remain at higher risk of harms. An example would be the low economic background people who always remain exposed to greater levels of stress, unhealthy conditions, economic uncertainty and others. Differences in vulnerability can be explained by previous examples where a particular group of people remains more vulnerable than others to health issues (Braveman & Gottleib, 2014). An example would be the village population where due to unhealthy condition, poverty and poor nutrition may remain more vulnerable for water borne diseases. Differences in consequences is another way where a middle or upper class family may face less severe issues like missing few days’ pays, annoyance and others whereas a poor family may become homeless, children dropping out and several severe things. Discrimination, employment conditions and high stress levels can thereby be harmful to citizens.
Power is a very tough concept that is practiced in policy making and has a great impact on the result that is churned out after establishment for the policy. Steven Lukes in the year 1974 had conceptualized power as a thought control of individuals practiced on by another individual. In simpler words, power is the function especially of the ability that involves influencing others by shaping their preferences (Richardson & Malley, 2015). If we consider an individual A and another as B, we can simplify the above statement by saying that while A tries to implement power over B, A tries to affect B in such a way which remains in contrary to B’s interests. In the policy making process, the concept of power experiences a relational sense which enhances the practice of power over others. The concept of power can be further simplified by the saying that when individual A wants to make individual B do something which otherwise B would have never done, then only A would utilize the power to make B do it. A can achieve this by three important ways which include power as decision making, power as though control and power as non decision making.
During the making of policy, there may initiate a struggle between groups with conflicting interests and therefore the concept of power is extremely important to describe the nature and capability of power (Meyer & Benavot, 2013). Power can operate at different levels. Firstly, the conventional understanding of power signifies the control over different material resources. These are usually negotiated through procedures, institutions, structures and formal rules. Secondly, power can be also hidden. It may act through dominant values and even discourses. These help in modifying individual identities and preferences. Moreover power can also be practiced by how people see each other socially on a positive sense achieving a goal (Au & Ferrare, 2015).
Obesity is a leading cause of increasing mortality in most developed nations which are leading to severe compromises in life expectancies of individual. Most of the governments of nations have tried to establish policies for controlling the occurrence of disorder. In order to make such policies successful, a proper framework has to be laid that will cover each cohort at risk. Firstly, it should educate the children in schools and controlling the condition so sale in schools of high calorigenic food. There should be restriction on the advertisements of high fat content and low nutrient food and also educate students about their ill effects (Brochu et al., 2014). The policy should also subsidize healthier alternatives like fruits and vegetables having much higher per calorie cost. Banning of trans fat containing food products should be banned. The causes of obesity should be reduced by appropriate legislations and regulations of environmental conditions that sustain good health should be done.
This can be done by allowing citizens to proper access to healthy foods and increasing their opportunities to be physically active. Promotion of health should not only be done by spreading awareness and information but should also contain programs that involve people to maintain exercise and healthy diets. Menu calorie labeling, soft drink tax, interventions in schools and others are some of the main prospects that will bring effect into the campaign. Community based programs can be initiated by building of sporting facilities, playgrounds, walking itineraries, offering cooking based classes to families, encouraging high risk individuals to consult doctors, changes in canteen menus, introduction of fruits in such menus, reducing the watching of television, increasing physical activities and lifestyle interventions all tend to be implemented in the policy (Stanford & Kylie, 2015).
Besides, addressing lifestyle high risk individuals may be prescribed anti obesity drugs or weight loss drugs only after the guidance of experts. They mainly work by altering the physiological processes towards betterment. However they should be taken under guidance as they have harmful effects. Bariatric surgery proves to be more effective in case of high risk individuals in contrast t drug therapy.
It is extremely important for every educational center to be smoke free to prevent health hazards unnecessarily extended as it may create a sense of disinterest among the students. The policy should not only refer to students but should also include professors, administrative officers, laborers and many others. The first factor that should be incorporated would be the entire description of the side effects that smoking creates in an individual (Rusette et al., 2014). It should describe the different cancer, the substance abuse disorders, various gynecological issues and others in details. This may create awareness in individuals in the university. The next factor would be the prohibitions of smoking in specific areas of the university. This would include areas which have more people in gathering, which are less ventilating and others. Prohibitions should also be done in the university vehicles, shuttle vans and buses. Smoking should only be done in areas which are designated as smoking areas only. The third factor would mainly involve the proper education and treatment for individuals who want to be free from the habit of smoking.
To help such people, the university should take initiatives like development of a list of resources which can help such individuals to leave the habit. A smoking cessation program can also be arranged with the help of the university’s group health insurance plan. This would help in the participation of interested students who want to leave their habit of smoking without going to experts for seeking help. However the university should be responsible enough to introduce educational materials as well as different referral services for all individuals irrespective of their insurance status (Cho et al., 2014). Moreover, individuals should also be advised to contact the office of human resources for further help if required. Another factor that should come in consideration while introducing the plan would be the introduction of strict disciplinary actions. This is very important in order to prevent any discrepancies and to reduce the chance of smoking. Any students or employees found to break the rule would be severely punished and will be penalized. They may also be subjected to legal obligation depending on their extent of guilt.
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