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Policy Implementation and Health Systems

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What factors can affect health policy issues through the life cycle stages in the US Military Health System, Veterans Health Administration, and American civilian health systems?

Use the Cybrary or other Web resources, as well as personal experience, to support your answer.

Reference ALL U.S. sources.

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A complex relationship, indeed. I have attached my response, as well as two highly relevant articles for convenience. I have listed all references. All references are US with the exception of one source. This source, however, made reference to global information which is relevant to US as well. I hope this helps and take care.


Characteristics of United States Health Care

The U.S. health insurance system has both a private (mainly employer-financed) and public component. 70.1 % of population is covered by a private insurance plan; 61.4 % of population is covered by an employer-sponsored private plan; 24.8 % is covered by a government insurance plan; 13.2 % is covered by Medicare; 10.8 % is covered by Medicaid; and 3.2 % is covered by military health insurance. 16.1 % of the population had no health insurance in 1997 (URL: http://www.reformmonitor.org/index.php3?content=docview,910 Retrieved August 3, 2004 and attached for convenience).

This question indirectly relates to the determinants of health (research-based), as the determinants of health have a differential impact on health populations across the life cycles, and thus, health policy:

CIVILIAN HEALTH SYSTEM: Throughout the Life Cycle

In general, health policies are affected by life cycle changes across the population of health care users. For example, research has also shown evidence of heightened sensitivity to environmental hazards at certain stages of human development (i.e., American civilian health systems), which in turn will influence health policy (i.e., policies directed at diseases in seniors due to environmental pollutants, etc.). As well, these health factors will impact different populations within the United Sates Health Care systems (i.e., US Military Health System, Veterans Health Administration, and American civilian health systems) in different ways, and thus, health policies will reflect these factors.

What is the link between research and health policy?

A critical issue relates to the role that research plays in the development of public policy. In situations where serious or irreversible health threats exist, action is justified even in the absence of full scientific certainty. For example, in the area of children's environmental health, we may not know all of the pathways by which environmental factors affect the developing physiology of a child, and yet we make decisions to act based on rudimentary information with the belief that society expects us to protect children's health from environmental insults. It's important to remember that the availability of evidence is not the sole determinant of policy action. Social values also play an important role One growing environmental concern is the proliferating use of chemicals in industry, agriculture and consumer products - a chemical revolution that is said to rival the significance of the Industrial Revolution. While many industrialized societies now depend on chemicals to maintain their standard of living, there are increasing concerns about related health hazards, particularly long-term exposure to low levels of chemicals and the adverse effects on the developing foetus, infant and young child (Source: http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/iacb-dgiac/arad-draa/english/rmdd/bulletin/issue4.html). Note: Although this is a Canadian source, the information is based on global research and, thus, applies to United States as well.

As an example, let's look at the impact of physical environment (i.e., environmental pollutants) on the American Civilian Health systems as a function of life cycle:

Infancy and Childhood

Because their tissues and organs are undergoing rapid cellular development, infants and very young children are more vulnerable than ...

Solution Summary

This solution discusses factors that can affect health policy issues through the life cycle stages in the US Military Health System, Veterans Health Administration and American civilian health systems. Supplemented with two highly informative articles on the health systems.