The Policy Process of the Health Reform
University of Phoenix
January 30, 2011
The Policy Process of the Health Reform
Health reform has been the topic of discussion for many years but the government has not came up with a plan that would benefit the both the American people and policymakers until recently. The health care deficit has raised out-of-control the past several year because of uninsured Americans and the cost to operate the health care systems. The American people rely on health care and the government simply cannot afford to finance health in the condition it is currently in. This is why a new health reform has to be form to meet the need of uninsured Americans and simply cannot afford health care. The reform is also design to provide assistance to policy officials a financial balance in health care is available. Before a new health reform can become law, there are steps in which has to take place with the government. This is the policy process and within this process there are three main stages such as the formulation, legislative, and implementation. On March 23, 2010, President Barack Obama signed into law the new health reform bill (H. R. 4872) that gave all Americans the right to have affordable health coverage. This paper will cite a breakdown of the policy process it took to pass the new health care reform law (H. R. 4872).
The Formulation Stage
As in any development stage, there has to be a starting point. This is true for the health reform to create a plan to implement that will drive down the cost of health care as well as provide the necessary health coverage Americans can afford. Before a bill becomes law, it has to enter the first stage. In the formulation stage, the President, who is the commander and chief, and is responsible for the shape of Americans economy, has to recognize that there is a problem with the health care system in America, and then develop a plan. In time, this plan will be known as the health care bill that addresses the needs of the current health care situations. After the development of this plan, the president will then present the bill to Congress. In the text, authors David Blumenthal and James Morone (2008) states ???When the president identifies a problem it immediately zooms to the top of the political charts.??? At this time, the bill will carefully examine by the Congress and discuss how it will best benefit the American people. Some president from the past has tried to maneuver Congress by speaking straight to the people concerning the bill (Blumenthal & Morone, 2008). This is a critical time for the president because Congress could kill the bill at any time.
When the health reform bill (H. R. 4872) enters the second stage of the policy process, which is the legislative stage. This is stage when Congress receives the bill from the president for reconstruction so the best solution to solve the health care problems be presented and discussed among other congressional leaders. The other levels of the legislative stage that the bill has to go through were the introduction, reading of the H. R. 4872, and reading and voting of the bill. In the introduction stage, Congress has much to consider but most of these consideration will not pass. In an article from About.com, author Robert Longley (2011) states, ???In a typical session of Congress well over 10,000 pieces of legislation are introduced for consideration, but only about 2 percent will make it through the legislative process to end up being signed into law by the president.??? During the introduction process, the bill may be given to House of Representative or the Senate for review. Mainly, bills are usually introduce to the House of Representatives in which it is printed in a journal of the House or Senate instead of read aloud on the floor. This was done to expedite time by referred the suitable group or committees.
Once the groups or committees have receive their journals, they will began to break down the health care bill and obtain input from the government agencies most affected to meet the needs of the people. If a decision of a specific situation cannot be resolve, the committee may call a public meeting to discuss important matters. The other different level of committee is called a subcommittee. The subcommittee asks for a whole committee approval, disapproval, or table of the bill (Longley, 2011). It will also ask for the bill to be amendment at that time. After the committee review the health care bill and make decisions on its findings, the bill will be returned to the full House or Senate for review again. Although majority of these bills that once were presented earlier in the process died in the committee process.
The second level of the legislative process is the reading of the bill from the House or Senate. This is when the House or Senate will take under consideration, and the bill will be placed on an official calendar (Longley, 2011). The other round of floor debates from the Senate or representatives concerning the bill and possibly adds an amendment to the health care bill. If an amendment is added, the Senate and representative usually debate and vote on it at a different time. The last section of the reading of the bill is the filibuster that involves Senates only. With filibuster, the majority of the bills will be defeated because it allows any officer of the Senate to voice his or her opinion reason the bill should not pass. If the Senate would want to avoid a filibuster they would need to pass a cloture with three-fourths of the floor votes. By doing this the majority of the House with the votes will reduce the time for debating and filibusters.
The third and last level of the legislation process is the reading and voting of the bill. This is when the full House or Senate votes within two ways, a single voice, or roll call (Longley, 2011). The policy process continues to another part of Congress to pass the health care bill in which it goes through the same process as before through the House and Senate. If another amendment is added, it may be approved as is, voted out or approved with other amendment attached by a joint House or Senate conference committee. The conference committee will make changes to the amendment so it is passable and file a report of the bill changes. After the bill changes are presented, the House and Senate once more have to vote on passing or denying the changes of the bill.
If the bill passes the legislative stage, it goes back to the president from once again. The president has to review the changes of the health care bill and make a decision whether to pass or veto it. His decision will be based upon the amendment changes and if the health care bill still beneficial for the American people. If the president believes that the American people can benefits from the bill, he will sign it and at that time the bill will become law. On the other hand, if the president decides the American people will not benefit, he will veto the bill and send it back to Congress again. This
On March 23, 2010, President Barack Obama agrees with the changes and sign the health care reform H. R. 4872 into law, although the implementation stage suppose to begin affecting American by 2014 but citizens will experience it much sooner. The implementation stage will take effect immediately with changes in the Medicare Part D program, by closure of the ???donut hole??? on prescription drug coverage; providing free preventive care under Medicare and offering early retirement benefits. The other programs the health reform provides for American are insurance for the uninsured, extended covered for older children, health coverage for people with pre-existing conditions and more health care facilities and workers. The reform offers more implementation programs that will improve the quality of care for Americans and reducing the budget.
The health reform went through several changes before becoming a law. The law was examined closely by the House of Representatives and Senate in which amendments were added better to serve the American people. Although the amendments adjust the original plan that President Barack Obama submitted, it still was in the best interest of the people. Some American may argue that the health reform is not perfect, even though it is not, but it requires that all Americans have affordable health care coverage that will help decrease the cost of health care. The health reform survives the Congress and ready to provide coverage to Americans with pre-existing conditions. In an article from Businesspundit.com (2010), states, ???We need reform. We??™re in a situation where healthcare is even becoming unaffordable to employers, leaving employees with higher out-of-pocket expenses even if they are ensured. Healthcare costs have jettisoned innumerable people from the middle class. People get sick and die because insurers won??™t take them. This isn??™t functional. Any kind of reform helps.??? Even though some elderly are suffering because the reform cause for more cuts will be made to Medicare, it is still necessary to have a new health care reform so America can start repairing it is health care deficit problem.
Blumenthal, David and Morone, James. (2008). Presidents. In Health Politics and Policy, Fourth Edition Chapter 5:. Retrieved January 28, 2011, from https://ecampus.phoenix.edu/content/eBookLibrary2/content/eReader.aspx.
Business Pundit. (2010). 9 Pros and Cons of the New Health-Care Reform Bill. Retrieved January 29, 2011, from http://www.businesspundit.com/the-pros-and-cons-of-the-new- health-care-reform-bill/.
Longley, Robert. (2011). The Legislative Process. In About.comUS Government Info. Retrieved January 28, 2011, from http://usgovinfo.about.com/od/rightsandfreedoms/a/studylegproc.htm.