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Health Policy Differences

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Introduction

Studies and researches in United States’ health policies reveal some distinct differences in the policy of three main healthcare providers. There are two glaring differences in the operational policies of the Military Health System, Veterans Health Administration, and the public sector.

The Policy Differences  

Due to the nature of the patients served, the Veterans healthcare policy differs with the two health systems in that it does not prioritize equal access to healthcare to all of its patients. The policy considers the patients’ status-of-discharge in addition to their length of service enrollment. On the humanitarian grounds, the Veteran Health Administration policy favors the low income patients. Patients suffering from service-related conditions also share this policy favor (Oliver, 2007).

As opposed to the bureaucratic management supported in the Military Health policy, Veterans Health policy supports autonomous operations and management of the twenty-one Veterans Integrated Service Networks (VISNs). The planning and budgeting of the veterans’ health care in every geographic region is independently done by VSN in charge of that region, with regard to the VHA’s capitation requirement (Oliver, 2007).

However, the commercial nature of the United States’ private health sector has shaped its policy prioritizes better health service delivery to patients who can pay for it rather than the low income patients. Given that the private health providers rely on the medical fee for their funding, their policy prioritizes service delivery that corresponds to the amount paid by the patients (Kovner & Jonas, 1999).    

According to Rhodes (1992), the content of one institution’s policy has the potential of influencing policymaking in the rest of the institutions. For instance, if the Military Health policy would include all the relatives of an active soldier as beneficiaries of their healthcare then the veterans’ healthcare policy would be influenced to cater for such relatives. Consequently, the private sector healthcare policy would be forced to reduce the cost of its services.

Conclusion

Drawing from Rhodes (1992), answering the question whether “the issue is significant enough to spend political resources’’; requires initial identification of political effects on such policies. Identified political influences in these policies can call for political resources to help in the optimization of healthcare service delivery in all the three health providing units.  

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