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What Role Do Diseases And Longevity Play In Policy Development? What Has Been The Role Of Managed Care And Attempts At Reform In Health Policy?

948 words - 4 pages

Just as a society's collective education level, income, and employment rates can influence policy, so can a society's collective level of health. A major issue discussed throughout the various authors' works has been the problem of an aging population. An again population occurs when less people die at earlier ages from diseases and other infections, combined with lower levels of fertility; both in terms of the population as a whole. This becomes a major issue in terms of disease and longevity because, as with any aspect of a society, if it is to succeed it must be well planned. Planning, in terms of a society, is achieved and addressed through public policy. And just as the needs of a population change, as it ages, the policies must as well. The greatest issues pressing for reform in United States health care are diseases, mental health, an aging population and/or the need for more managed and well-planned care as a population.Until insurance companies started to pay for patients care, the idea of what constituted a disease was not something that was discussed as much in the public and political realm. But decisions about what should be covered by insurance, and exactly what kind of coverage citizens should receive has now become a major political debate. Largely this is due to the fact that there is inconsistency in the care that all citizens receive. As the aging population grows, however, there is more concern for healthcare both due to the high number of people in such a population (especially given the large number of "baby boomers"), and their greater susceptibility to disease (Cassel 26). More logical reforms at health policy then aim towards addressing broader threats to health and healthcare as a society, rather than on an individual level (Mechanic 52-54). Additionally, efforts towards preventative care could help reform health policy, as both of these changes in the United State's view on healthcare would be much more progressive. The major challenge that affects reform appears to be long-held ideas and feelings towards the way that healthcare has been managed in the past, and the inability of citizen's and policy makers to stray from such thoughts.Mental health is probably the most misunderstood aspect of health care, mostly because it too is bogged down by a history of misconceptions and improper solutions to mental health issues. This is largely due to people's perceptions of mental health, and also insurance companies lack of eagerness to provide payment for mental health treatments. It should be noted, as well, that a large portion of the mentally ill end up unnoticed for most of their life, and end up homeless or in correctional facilities. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) holds hundreds of classifications of mental illnesses. Because classification can be difficult, it is also...

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