Topics on health care are those that are often discussed by the government. Topics on healthcare have the ability to affect the lives of most, if not all Americans. During a time when a topic becomes a policy that is at the federal level, its implementation is carried out in each state. Understanding the process used in the creation of a policy from a topic is very important. This is because at one point or another, the policy will have an impact on all the providers and consumers of healthcare. Transformation of a topic into a policy entails three key stages. The stages include the formulation, legislation and implementation stages. Implementation is combined with evaluation of each stage to ascertain the effectiveness and collect information that can be useful in the future policy making within the public health care.
Selection of the topic
The entire policy in healthcare starts with the selection of a topic which is likely to be addressed by the implementation of permanent policy. Some of the commonly discussed topics are the provision of healthcare to everyone, controlling healthcare costs, Medicare, Public health, Medicaid programs and research. What determines the selection of a topic for policy formation is the most common opinion from the public regarding an area that is significant and thus requires regulation. In most cases, the topics are geared towards fighting the rising costs of healthcare.
During the stage of formulation in the process of policy making, it is important to select a topic related to an issue whose solution will call for the input of the government. The role of the policy makers is to verify that a given problem requires a written policy o solve, and this should be accomplished through numerous resources. The problem of cost and spending within healthcare is what is supposed to be addressed in this case. At this level of the process, gathering of information should be done to support the aspect of converting a healthcare topic into a policy. There are several sources for the information gathered. These include special interest groups, state and federal government, and taxpayers (National School Boards Association, 2011). The purpose of this information is to ascertain the steps that should be undertaken to come to the end of the policy goal. The gathered information is from the same experiences with policies that are similar, input from education research, states and the existing federal and state laws. After all information has been compiled, it is changed into a formal bill, and this marks the beginning of the legislative stage of the process of policy making.
After all the required information has been included on the formal bill, it is then brought to the congress or senate for debate. The bill can be introduced by any of the members of Congress or the state (National Association for the Education of Young Children, 2011). The bill contains a complete list of its sponsors and its definition is based on the house it originated from (National Association for the Education of Young Children, 2011). The bill is then sent to a committee that is responsible for hearing the basic aspects of legislation that has been brought forward (National Association for the Education of Young Children, 2011). The committee’s chairperson has the ability to determine whether the bill gets a hearing or whether it should be sent for a mark up (National Association for the Education of Young Children, 2011). This is a stage in the process of legislation where both the sub-committee and the committee can provide amendments to the legislation that has been provided. If the bill receives favor from the committee, it is then passed to the whole legislative body (National Association for the Education of Young Children, 2011).
The committee plays specific duties that enable it to be in able to present the formal bill to the entire body in charge of legislation. These include: making a description of the intent of the legislation, the effect on the existing programs and laws, the position inclined by a majority of members of the committee and how related hearings within the committee were approached in the past (National Association for the Education of Young Children, 2011). The report is then forwarded to the floor of the house and to senate for debate. If the speakers and a good number of leaders resolve that it is very important, then it will be ready for debate (National Association for the Education of Young Children, 2011). There is room for amendment and voting on so that it may eventually pass in the house where it originated (National Association for the Education of Young Children, 2011). In case, it is passed in that house, it’s sent to another house, and the same steps are followed up to the final passage (National Association for the Education of Young Children, 2011).
After the process of legislation has passed in both houses, the policy then gets to the desk of the president to be approved or for a veto. The president may choose to issue a veto of the legislation. If this happens, the process of amendment starts afresh up to when all the concerned parties arrive at a consensus. A veto can be overridden by the branch of legislation. Nonetheless, the legislation will become a policy whether through a veto override or signature. Incase no resolution is arrived at, the process of legislation is done away with and they move on to other issues of national importance. However, if the policy is passed, the process of implementation starts.
The implementation stage in very significant in the policy making process. It commences after the government has decided to make legislation into law. The government agencies and departments are responsible for implementation of the policy. Therefore, the policy is placed squarely in the in hands (The Pennsylvania State University, 2011). The role of the agencies is to ensure that the stipulations of the new policy have been put into place. Besides, they ensure that the new policy has been administered and effectively enforced (The Pennsylvania State University, 2011). The resources required in implementing the new policy are given to the government agencies to help in bringing into existence the change that had been planned. There are two possible ways through which this change may occur: formation of new agencies or through assignment of new duties to the existing agencies to ensure that the policies that the legislative branch had formed have been carried out (The Pennsylvania State University, 2011). The significance of the implementation stage in the process of policy making is that it provides the changes to be put into place that will become parameters in measuring the effectiveness of the new policy during the stage of evaluation (The Pennsylvania State University, 2011).
Implemented policies are supposed to be evaluated so as to be effective. A measurement of effectiveness should be done if the cost and spending in healthcare is reduced by the policy. One of the things that the policy makers want to be assured of is whether the policy is working as it was their intention during the time of policy formation (National School Boards Association, 2011). The purpose of evaluating the policy is to ascertain if the intended effects took place and if the impacts of the effects were desirable or undesirable to the target population. For, instance, was the policy’s effect unintended such that it led to an increase in the expenses related to healthcare? Doing is crucial to the process since it helps the guides the policy makers in knowing the program’s future based on both quality and the ability to meet the intended objectives. It provides them with sufficient details for formation and implementation in the future. Those in charge of making policies can focus on coming up with future policies that reveal the positive aspects of this policy and neglect the negative aspects of the new policy (National School Boards Association, 2011).
The process of creating a policy from a topic starts with gathering of information based on an aspect that calls for the government support in supporting the solution to the issue. In healthcare, caution should be taken in the formulation stage since the legislative stage depends on those details to use an idea in developing a policy that will impact the lives of both the providers and consumers of healthcare in the U.S. In the legislative process, there is debate, amendments, committee proceedings and endorsement. Legislation becomes law through the president’s approval or when a veto is overridden. Implementation of the policy is carried out by agencies and departments within the government. The duties of such agencies are to implement, administer and enforce the policy to ensure that the objectives of the legislative body have been attained.
National Association for the Education of Young Children. (2011). Stepis in making a bill a law: the federal legislative process. Web.
National School Boards Association (2011). Policy development steps. Web.
The Pennsylvania State University (2011). Definition of public policy implementation. Web.