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Health Care Policy and the Role of Government

1. Is the role of the government in the shaping of national policy increasing? Why may this be either harmful or beneficial?
2. What are the stances of the Republican and Democratic parties on some of the current health care polices?

Thank you.

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Interesting questions! Let's take a closer look at these questions. I also provided some extra resources and links in the attached file.

RESPONSE:

1. Is the role of the government in the shaping of national policy increasing? Why may this be either harmful or beneficial?

President elect Obama is planning on more government involvement in the shaping of nation health policy and less influence from the special interest groups. It terms of either being harmful or beneficial, time will tell, but one can look to similar health systems for comparison, such as Canada, although Canada's health care system is Universal coverage through the federal government.

There are both positive and negative aspects. We all get basic health insurance to see doctors and have operations and babies free of charge. But for some procedures, appointments with specialists and operations, we have long waiting lists (e.g. Saskatchewan- my neighbor died last year while waiting for tests, which had about a year waiting list. He could have travelled to Alberta for private treatment, but he decided to wait. He got so sick about 9 months of waiting, he was hospitalized and died from the complications that had accumulated over the 9 month interim). We also have a shortage of doctors and nurses, so a stay in the hospital is dangerous (my opinion, but common sense based), as they are understaffed and a patient can wait up to an hour for help after ringing the help bell. Sometimes, the bell is never responded to. If it was an emergency, what then? However, Saskatchewan has recently hired a large number of nurses from other countries. But Canada's system is considered a one-tiered system with Universal coverage, (limited private insurance) which is slightly different than Obama's plans who proposed a mixed public-private health care system. However, the more the government takes over the system, the fewer choices we have in terms of care and treatment.

In United States, President-elect Obama is thinking about the children and underprivileged people who do not have health insurance; this has benefits for this population of people.

When considering benefits or harms, it often depends (at least in part) which side of the debate you position yourself. Overall, though, it all depends if people want more personal choice or if they are comfortable with the government controlling the health care system. For example, some people would prefer to pay for an operation from a private clinic than waiting for a year. In Canada, we do not have that option; we wait. Hilary Clinton is for Universal coverage, but President-elect Obama is for a mixture of public-private (see existing Democratic Plarform below, which will change when the President-elect takes power in January).

2. What are the stances of the Republican and Democratic parties on some of the current health care polices?

From the Democratic side (see existing platform below), President-elect Barack Obama would have the government organize a health-care marketplace where private plans, and one new government-run plan, would compete to sell insurance, with government subsidies for low-income customers. The likely result: more Americans buying insurance with the help of government, with more people insured, but government spending a lot for subsidies. (1)

From the Republican side (see existing platform below), John McCain would change the tax treatment of health insurance in a way that would encourage Americans to buy insurance on the open market, eliminating the current bias toward employer-sponsored care. The likely result: more people ...

Solution Summary

Validated by research and examples, this solution explores whether or not the role of the government in the shaping of national policy is increasing and whether this role is either harmful or beneficial. It also details the stances of the Republican and Democratic parties on some of the current health care policies.

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