[Get Answer] reflection in public policy

Reflection in Public Policy

Question 1

            The new national Health Care Reform Bill will greatly affect American citizens but the benefits will not be equally distributed among the citizens because some of them will gain from it while others will be place in a disadvantageous situation. In the United States, an estimated of a third of people in the age of 20s is uninsured and due to this, young adults will be given the opportunity to remain on their parents’ health plan until they reach 26. Nevertheless, adult children who already have health benefits from their employers will no longer be eligible to get benefits from the health care plan of their parents. However, adult children who will get married can still be covered from the health care plan but their grandchildren are not included (Alfonso-Zaldivar, 2010).

There are also other reforms that will be implemented in the health care system of the United States this year. First, health insurers will be prohibited in cancelling the policies of people who will get sick. Second, insurers should not deny health coverage to children that are suffering from medical problems. Third, health insurers are no longer allowed to put lifetime dollar limits on their policies. Fourth, the new plan of Obama will also provide health care coverage for uninsured people that are suffering from chronic illnesses. In order to achieve the aforementioned goals of Obama’s health care plan, the government will provide money to high-risk insurance pools in order to make health coverage available for people who are uninsured for six months and those who are in frail health (Alfonso-Zaldivar, 2010).

The reforms in the national Health Care Reform Bill together with the measures that will be implemented before 2014 can be regarded as a double-edged sword that will benefit people who are uninsured and is suffering from serious health problems. In relation to this, the plan will address the “doughnut hole” prescription coverage gap and make enhancements when it terms of preventive care. However, the new health care plan will deduct funding for popular private insurance plans that are offered by means of the Medicare Advantage program. An estimate of one-quarter of seniors is member of these plans (Alfonso-Zaldivar, 2010). Being the case, it is quite noticeable that young adults and seniors, who are uninsured and have chronic diseases will greatly benefit from the new health care plan but those who are insured through popular private insurance plans, will disadvantageously be affected by the plan.

The policy design of the new Health Care Reform Bill is exemplified by the rationales that are seen in the changes that are included in the plan. The rationales are vital elements of the policy design because it helps in legitimizing the policy in order for it to coincide with the values of the American citizen. The rationales in the new health care plan is dependent upon the previous weaknesses of the health care system of the United States wherein it does not give due attention and importance to people who are uninsured and who are suffering from chronic illnesses. Due to this, the primary policy design element of the new health care plan is dependent upon the rationales of helping people who are uninsured, especially young adults, seniors, and those with chronic diseases.

Based on the discussion above regarding the new national Health Care Reform Bill, the tools and rules of the policy that are implemented are capacity building, eligibility, and timing rules. The capacity building tools are exemplified in the new health care plan because of the main objective of the plan to address the weaknesses of the health care system of the United States, which deals mostly with the lack of sustainable development for the health care of the citizens. The health care bill promotes ways in order to make the health care system of the United States more sustainable for its citizens, especially for those that are uninsured. In terms of eligibility, the new health care plan also greatly emphasizes the eligibility of the citizens that can avail of the specific benefits of the plan. A good example is the eligibility of young adults to gain coverage from the health care plans of their parents wherein they need to be below 26 and does not have any other health care plan coming from their employers. Moreover, the timing rules is also applicable in the new health care plan, since the implementation of the actual subsidies is still in 2014, the other measures that have to be applied such as the rule that prohibit insurers from placing lifetime dollar limits on their polices.

There are different target populations that the new health care plan gives importance to but the most noticeable are the populations of young adults and seniors. Based on the context of the degenerative policy-making, there are four kinds of possible policy targets and one which is the dependents. Dependents are constructed and recognized as good people but are relatively helpless and do not have any political power. In line with this, the new national Health Care Reform Bill gives emphasis on this target population because they give due attention to young adults and seniors. Young adults below the age of 26 will advantageously gain from the plan because as long as they do not have any health care coverage from their employers they can still benefit from the health care plan of their parents. On the other hand, not all senior citizens will advantageously gain from the new plan because those who avail of health care from popular insurance plans will suffer from the funding cuts that the government will do to this kind of insurance providers.

Question 2

            Education plays an important role for individuals to reach their full potential and it also substantially help in the development of the society. However, due to monetary problems, especially with the global financial crisis that had taken place, an increasing number of students fail to reach the tertiary level of education. The adage that education is no longer a right but rather it is a privilege is gaining popularity, especially since families who are suffering from dire poverty can no longer afford to send their children to college. Due to this, government assistance and subsidies are necessary in order to give more students the opportunity to reach the tertiary level. Being the case, the Student Aid and Fiscal Responsibilities Act of 2009 is actually a good policy that addresses the pressing problem of families when it comes to the lack of money to send their children to college. The soundness of the Student Aid and Fiscal Responsibilities is rooted from the very goals, assumptions, rationales and tools of the policy.

            The goals of the SAFRA 2009 are dependent upon the objective of the government to improve the American educational system by producing the most college graduates by 2020. The aforementioned objective of the Act is actually a good foundation its implementation because its goal is specific and result oriented. Based on Schneider and Ingram (1997) the goals of the policy is important because it specifies what a policy intends to accomplish. In the case of the SAFRA 2009, the government was able to give a goal that actually specifies a tangible outcome from the efforts that will be made. In relation to this, the time-frame that is identified in the goal represents the commitment of the government to actually give results that the citizens can count on. Having a result-oriented goal is much better as compared with policies that give vague objectives because the government becomes more accountable in actually providing results rather than giving false promises. Furthermore, the specific objectives of the SAFRA 2009 also provides concrete action plan of the government, specifically: (a) Invest the bill’s savings to make college affordable and help more Americans graduate; (b) Provide reliable, affordable, high-quality Federal student loans for all families (Miller, 2009).

            The assumptions underlying the SAFRA 2009 are an important part in recognizing that it is a good policy. According to Schneider and Ingram (2007), assumptions are important part of the decision-making process because policymakers use assumptions in order to guide them in establishing the design of a policy. The SAFRA 2009 is actually a continuation of the Higher Education Act. The main assumptions of policy makers is that the Higher Education Act and The Federal Family Education Loan Program (FEELP) have substantially fail in addressing the problems of the educational system in the United States, especially when it comes to giving loans and subsidies to underprivileged students. As a result, the government decided to create the SAFRA2009 in order to address the weaknesses of the Higher Education Act and FEELP. In doing so, they can actually make substantial reforms in order to solve the pressing educational problems in the United States. In addition, policymakers also use the assumption that the changing economic condition of the United States, especially with the effects of the global financial crisis requires that the government should design and implement a more comprehensive and stricter measures that can actually answer the worsening financial situations of most families.

            The rationale behind the SAFRA 2009 embodies the arguments of policymakers when it comes to the need to create such kind of policy. Critics and the National Commission on Excellence in Education point out the ongoing crisis in the educational system of the United States. In relation to this, the prominence of Americans when it comes to various fields such as: commerce, industry, science and technology, and many others are greatly threatened by global competition. Due to this, the administration of President Barrack Obama uses the aforementioned educational crisis as a rationale in the creation of the SAFRA 2009. Schneider and Ingram (1997) assert that rationales are essential in policy-making because it establish a link between design elements and context, which is necessary in order to assure that design will address the issue and give positive effects. In line with this, the rational of the Obama administration in creating the Act proves that they are actually addressing the identified problems in education. The policy that they created does not merely have the welfare of the individuals in mind but also the development of the United States. The rational of the policymakers makes the SAFRA 2009 a good policy because it addresses the education problem and also puts into perspective the sustainable development of the country.

            Lastly, the tools implemented by the Obama administration in the implementation of SAFRA is also commendable because it uses Hortatory and Learning tools that are knowledge and research based, which actually reach out to the target population. The use of hortatory tools allows the government to actually direct the target population to the policy (Schneider and Ingram, 1997). SAFRA was introduced to the population through public speeches, interviews, and the other means of communication through the mass media, which most people are exposed to especially at this time wherein there is a great development in the field of information technology. Moreover, the application of learning tools also allow policymakers to make informed-decision about SAFRA and they can actually oversee the development of the new policy by means of researches and studies that greatly help in achieving its goals.


Alfonso-Zaldivar, R. (2010). Major changes won’t take effect yet. Hampshire Gazette.

Miller, B. (2009). Student Aid and Fiscal Responsibility Act. Edlabor Journal. Web.      Accessed from, http://edlabor.house.gov/blog/2009/07/student-aid-and-


Schneider and Ingram (1997) Policy Design for Democracy. Kansas UP. USA


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