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Health Care Policy: Analyze the healthcare policy-making process for improving the health status of populations


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Health Care Policy: Analyze the healthcare policy-making process for improving the health status of populations



Access the following to complete this Assessment:

  • Liberal Arts Instructional Technology. (n.d.). The public policy process. University of Texas at Austin: Texas Liberal Arts. https://www.laits.utexas.edu/gov310/PEP/policy/
  • Huntington’s Outreach Project for Education, at Stanford. (2012). Medical marijuana policy in the United States. Stanford University. http://web.stanford.edu/group/hopes/cgi-bin/hopes_test/medical-marijuana-policy-in-the-united-states/
  • Highway Loss Data Institute. (2017). The effects of Michigan’s weakened motorcycle helmet use law on insurance losses – five years later. Bulletin, 34(36). https://www.iihs.org/media/0d9cc50f-7edc-4ce4-990e-c5e88dbfcde5/4PyfCA/HLDI%20Research/Bulletins/hldi_bulletin_34.36.pdf
  • Borck, N. C. (2014). Weaker helmet laws increase motorcycle fatalities. Laborers’ Health & Safety Fund of North America. http://www.lhsfna.org/index.cfm/lifelines/june-2014/weaker-helmet-laws-increase-motorcycle-fatalities/
  • Insurance Institute for Highway Safety Highway Loss Data Institute. (2015). Motorcycle helmet use. Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. https://www.iihs.org/topics/motorcycles
  • Sher, L. (2020). The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on suicide rates. QJM: An International Journal of Medicine, 113(10), 707–712. https://academic.oup.com/qjmed/article/113/10/707/5857612
  • Betsch, C., Korn, L., Sprengholz, P., Felgendreff, L., Eitze, S., Schmid, P., & Böhm, R. (2020). Social and behavioral consequences of mask policies during the COVID-19 pandemic.Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 117(36), 21851–21853. https://www.pnas.org/content/117/36/21851
  • Academic Writing Expectations Checklist


This Assessment requires submission of one (1) document for all six parts of your Final Assessment. Save your file as LE002_firstinitial_lastname (for example, LE002_J_Smith).

There are many ways that regulations, policies, and special interest groups affect the daily lives of individuals and health care organizations.  The following six scenarios relate to these issues and demonstrate the impact policies have on our lives.

This assessment has six parts. Click each of the items below for more information on this Assessment.

Part One: State Legalization of Medical Marijuana and the Policy-Making Process

  • Research the process by which state legalization of medical marijuana in California (Proposition 215, the Compassionate Use Act) occurred. Using the six-part policy-making process outlined below, describe what happened at each stage. Please refer to “Medical Marijuana Policy in the United States” provided with the Assessment documents. You may identify another state that is considering legalization of medical marijuana and is in the process of going through this policy process, and where in the process they currently find themselves.
  • The Six Stage Public Policy Process:
    • Problem Identification: Problems that may potentially make their way onto the public policy agenda are recognized. (1–2 paragraphs)
    • Agenda Setting: Problems that are deemed worthy of attention are placed on the agenda. (1–2 paragraphs)
    • Policy Making: Various policies are crafted to deal with the problem that has been set on the agenda and an official policy is agreed upon. (1–2 paragraphs)
    • Budgeting: The amount of money to spend on a policy must be determined. (1–2 paragraphs)
    • Policy Implementation: The public policy that has been officially agreed upon is put into action. (1–2 paragraphs)
    • Policy Analysis and Evaluation: The implemented policy is evaluated for its effectiveness. (1–2 paragraphs)

For more information about the six steps, review the following website:    The Public Policy Process American Politics. University of Texas. http://www.laits.utexas.edu/gov310/PEP/policy/

Here’s a breakdown of the six-part policy-making process with regards to the legalization of medical marijuana in California, focusing on Proposition 215, the Compassionate Use Act:


  1. **Agenda Setting:** The agenda-setting phase involved advocacy efforts by various groups and individuals to bring the issue of medical marijuana legalization to the forefront of public and political discourse. These efforts included grassroots movements, patient advocacy groups, and individuals affected by debilitating medical conditions who believed in the therapeutic benefits of cannabis.


  1. **Policy Formulation:** During this phase, stakeholders collaborated to draft and formulate the policy proposal for legalizing medical marijuana. Proposition 215, also known as the Compassionate Use Act, was drafted by activists and legal experts to allow patients with serious medical conditions to use marijuana for medicinal purposes upon the recommendation of a physician.


  1. **Adoption:** Proposition 215 was placed on the California ballot as an initiative in November 1996. California voters approved Proposition 215, making California the first state to legalize medical marijuana. The proposition passed with 55.6% of the popular vote, demonstrating public support for allowing patients access to medical cannabis.


  1. **Implementation:** Following the passage of Proposition 215, the implementation phase involved the development of regulations and guidelines for the cultivation, distribution, and use of medical marijuana. However, the federal government’s stance on marijuana as a Schedule I controlled substance created challenges for the implementation of state-level medical cannabis programs.

Health Care Policy: Analyze the healthcare policy-making process for improving the health status of populations

  1. **Evaluation:** Over time, the implementation and impact of Proposition 215 were evaluated to assess its effectiveness in providing access to medical marijuana for patients with qualifying conditions. Advocates and policymakers monitored the program’s outcomes, including patient access, regulatory compliance, public safety, and the medical efficacy of cannabis treatment.


  1. **Termination or Amendment:** While Proposition 215 remains in effect, subsequent legislation and regulatory changes have amended aspects of California’s medical marijuana program. For example, the Medical Marijuana Regulation and Safety Act (MMRSA) was enacted in 2015 to establish a comprehensive regulatory framework for the cultivation, distribution, and sale of medical cannabis.


As for another state considering legalization of medical marijuana, Florida provides an example. The state has gone through similar phases in its policy-making process. Currently, Florida is in the implementation phase after the passage of the Medical Marijuana Legalization Initiative (Amendment 2) in 2016. The state has been working on establishing regulations and licensing procedures for medical marijuana dispensaries and treatment centers, while also addressing challenges related to federal laws and local ordinances. Ongoing evaluation and potential amendments to the state’s medical marijuana program will shape its future direction and impact.

Part Two: State Laws on Motorcycle Helmet Use

  • Use the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) data from “Motorcycle Helmet Use—State Laws,” and the “The Effects of Michigan’s Weakened Motorcycle Helmet Use Law on Insurance Losses,” provided in the Assessment documents, and other research you find on your own, to review data on states with partial helmet laws.
  • Review https://www.iihs.org/topics/motorcyclesto address the following:
    • Describe at least two impacts on injuries when Michigan weakened its helmet use laws. (2–3 paragraphs)
    • Justify the need for helmet use laws to protect motorcyclists and bystanders. In what ways does not wearing a helmet while operating a motorcycle impact the health and safety of other citizens? (1 page)

When Michigan weakened its helmet use laws, there were several impacts on injuries. One significant impact was an increase in head injuries and fatalities among motorcyclists. Research has shown that wearing a helmet significantly reduces the risk of head injury and death in motorcycle crashes. Therefore, when helmet laws are weakened or repealed, more motorcyclists choose not to wear helmets, leading to an increase in severe head injuries and fatalities. For example, a study published in the American Journal of Surgery found that after Michigan repealed its universal helmet law in 2012, there was a 14% increase in head injury admissions to trauma centers.


Another impact of weakening helmet laws is the burden it places on healthcare systems and taxpayers. Head injuries sustained in motorcycle crashes often require extensive medical treatment, rehabilitation, and long-term care. Without helmets, the severity and frequency of head injuries increase, resulting in higher healthcare costs and greater strain on hospitals and trauma centers. A study conducted by the University of Michigan found that the average hospitalization cost for a motorcycle crash victim with a head injury was significantly higher than for those without head injuries.


The need for helmet use laws to protect motorcyclists and bystanders is justified by the overwhelming evidence that helmets save lives and prevent serious injuries. Helmets reduce the risk of head injury by approximately 69% and the risk of death by 37% in motorcycle crashes. By wearing helmets, motorcyclists not only protect themselves but also reduce the likelihood of causing harm to other road users in the event of a crash.


When motorcyclists sustain severe head injuries in crashes, they often require emergency medical treatment, hospitalization, and rehabilitation, which can strain healthcare resources and increase healthcare costs for everyone. Unhelmeted motorcyclists are also more likely to suffer traumatic brain injuries, which can result in long-term disabilities requiring ongoing care and support. This places a burden on families, communities, and taxpayers who may bear the financial and emotional costs of caring for individuals with debilitating injuries. Additionally, motorcycle crashes involving unhelmeted riders can cause significant psychological trauma to bystanders who witness or are involved in the crash, impacting their mental health and well-being.

Health Care Policy: Analyze the healthcare policy-making process for improving the health status of populations

Furthermore, helmet use laws promote safer riding behaviors and help create a culture of safety on the roads. When helmets are mandatory, motorcyclists are more likely to wear them and take other safety precautions, such as obeying speed limits and avoiding risky maneuvers. This not only protects motorcyclists but also reduces the risk of crashes and injuries for other road users, including pedestrians, cyclists, and drivers. Therefore, helmet use laws play a crucial role in promoting public health and safety and reducing the societal and economic costs associated with motorcycle crashes.

Part Three: Policies on Mandatory HIV Testing and Counseling

  • After researching this topic, describe at least onecost and one benefit of mandatory HIV testing and counseling. Include ways it may or may not increase population health. In addition, describe at least one barrier to HIV testing and HIV counseling, and describe how overcoming these barriers might increase population health. (1–2 pages)

One cost of mandatory HIV testing and counseling is the potential infringement on individual autonomy and privacy rights. Mandating HIV testing and counseling may be perceived as coercive and intrusive, especially if individuals are not given the option to refuse testing or counseling. This could lead to mistrust in healthcare systems and reluctance to seek medical care, particularly among marginalized populations who may already face stigma and discrimination related to HIV/AIDS. Additionally, mandatory testing and counseling may disproportionately impact certain communities, such as LGBTQ+ individuals, immigrants, and people of color, who may have historical reasons to distrust healthcare institutions.


On the other hand, a significant benefit of mandatory HIV testing and counseling is the potential to identify undiagnosed HIV infections and link individuals to care and treatment. Early detection of HIV allows for timely initiation of antiretroviral therapy (ART), which can significantly improve health outcomes and reduce the risk of transmission to others. By ensuring that more people living with HIV are aware of their status and engaged in care, mandatory testing and counseling can contribute to reducing HIV-related morbidity and mortality, as well as preventing new infections.


Mandatory HIV testing and counseling may increase population health by reducing the overall burden of HIV/AIDS within communities. By identifying individuals with HIV early in the course of infection, interventions such as ART can be initiated promptly, leading to viral suppression and improved health outcomes. Moreover, mandatory testing and counseling may help reduce HIV transmission rates by promoting safer sexual practices, encouraging disclosure of HIV status to sexual partners, and providing access to preventive measures such as pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) for individuals at high risk of HIV acquisition.


However, a significant barrier to HIV testing and counseling is stigma associated with HIV/AIDS. Fear of stigma, discrimination, and social ostracization may deter individuals from seeking testing and counseling services, even when they are readily available. Stigma surrounding HIV/AIDS can be fueled by misconceptions about transmission routes, moral judgments, and negative attitudes toward affected populations. Overcoming stigma requires comprehensive efforts to educate communities, challenge stereotypes, and promote acceptance and empathy toward people living with HIV/AIDS.


Another barrier to HIV testing and counseling is limited access to healthcare services, particularly among underserved populations. Structural barriers such as poverty, lack of health insurance, transportation issues, and geographical isolation can hinder individuals’ ability to access testing and counseling services. Overcoming these barriers requires implementing strategies to improve healthcare access, such as expanding coverage, providing free or low-cost services, offering mobile testing units, and integrating HIV testing and counseling into routine healthcare settings.


In conclusion, while mandatory HIV testing and counseling may raise concerns about individual rights and autonomy, it also holds the potential to improve public health by identifying undiagnosed infections, linking individuals to care, and reducing transmission rates. To maximize the benefits of mandatory testing and counseling, it is essential to address barriers such as stigma and access to care, and to ensure that testing and counseling services are provided in a respectful, non-coercive manner that upholds individuals’ dignity and rights.

Part Four: Policies on COVID-19

  • Use the example of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 and related articles (provided with the Assessment documents) to complete the following:
    • Describe two policies that were put into place to protect the public from infection, and what impact these policies had on public health. (1 page)
    • Provide a rationale for these kinds of policies to someone who argues that they infringe too much on individual liberties. (1 page)

Two policies that were put into place during the COVID-19 pandemic to protect the public from infection were mask mandates and social distancing measures. Mask mandates required individuals to wear face masks in public spaces, while social distancing measures implemented guidelines for maintaining physical distance from others, often including limitations on the size of gatherings and capacity restrictions for businesses.


The impact of these policies on public health was significant. Mask mandates helped reduce the transmission of respiratory droplets containing the virus, particularly in indoor settings where close contact is more likely. Studies have shown that wearing masks can significantly decrease the spread of COVID-19, leading to fewer infections and ultimately saving lives. Similarly, social distancing measures helped slow the spread of the virus by reducing opportunities for close contact and minimizing large gatherings where the virus could easily spread from person to person. These measures, when implemented alongside other public health interventions such as testing, contact tracing, and vaccination campaigns, played a crucial role in controlling the pandemic and preventing healthcare systems from becoming overwhelmed.


To someone who argues that these policies infringe too much on individual liberties, it is important to emphasize the concept of the greater good and the principle of public health. While individual freedoms are important, they are not absolute and must be balanced against the collective well-being of society. During a public health crisis such as the COVID-19 pandemic, the government has a responsibility to take measures to protect the health and safety of its citizens, even if it requires temporary restrictions on certain liberties. Mask mandates and social distancing measures are necessary tools for controlling the spread of a highly contagious virus and preventing unnecessary illness, hospitalizations, and deaths.

Health Care Policy: Analyze the healthcare policy-making process for improving the health status of populations

Moreover, it is essential to highlight that these policies are not arbitrary infringements on individual liberties but are based on scientific evidence and recommendations from public health experts. The goal of these measures is not to control people but to control the spread of a deadly virus that poses a significant threat to public health. By adhering to mask mandates and social distancing guidelines, individuals contribute to the collective effort to protect vulnerable populations, prevent the healthcare system from being overwhelmed, and ultimately save lives. In times of crisis, sacrificing certain individual liberties for the greater good of society is not only justified but imperative for ensuring the health and well-being of all members of the community.

Part Five: Healthcare Policies: Advocacy and Civic Engagement

  • Choose one of the following three issues and research the role advocacy and civic engagement have played in advancing these issues:
    • Prevention of smoking cigarettes in public spaces
    • Reduction in child obesity rates
    • Increased penalties for drunk driving
  • Describe the role that advocacy and civic engagement played in advancing these policy-making efforts for the issue you selected. (1–2 pages)

I’ll choose the prevention of smoking cigarettes in public spaces as the issue to explore the role of advocacy and civic engagement.


Advocacy and civic engagement have played a significant role in advancing policies aimed at preventing smoking cigarettes in public spaces. The movement to restrict smoking in public areas gained momentum in the mid-20th century as awareness of the health risks associated with tobacco smoke grew. Organizations such as the American Lung Association, the American Cancer Society, and the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids have been instrumental in advocating for smoke-free policies and mobilizing public support for such measures.


One of the key strategies used by advocacy groups has been to raise awareness about the harmful effects of secondhand smoke exposure. By educating policymakers and the public about the health risks of breathing in tobacco smoke in public spaces, advocacy organizations have been able to build a strong case for implementing smoke-free policies. They have conducted research, disseminated information through various media channels, and organized public campaigns to highlight the dangers of secondhand smoke and the importance of protecting non-smokers from exposure.


Civic engagement has also played a crucial role in advancing smoke-free policies at the local, state, and national levels. Grassroots efforts, including community organizing, petition drives, and public hearings, have helped to build public support for smoke-free laws and ordinances. Citizens have mobilized to attend city council meetings, testify before legislative committees, and advocate for the passage of smoke-free legislation. By voicing their concerns and sharing personal stories about the impact of secondhand smoke on their health and well-being, ordinary citizens have exerted pressure on policymakers to take action.


Additionally, advocacy groups have worked collaboratively with government officials, businesses, healthcare providers, and other stakeholders to develop and implement smoke-free policies. By forging partnerships and building coalitions, they have been able to leverage their collective influence and resources to enact meaningful change. These partnerships have helped to overcome opposition from the tobacco industry and other vested interests, demonstrating the power of collective action in advancing public health policies.


Overall, advocacy and civic engagement have been instrumental in driving forward the movement to prevent smoking cigarettes in public spaces. By raising awareness, mobilizing public support, and working collaboratively with stakeholders, advocacy organizations have helped to create smoke-free environments that protect the health and well-being of individuals and communities. Their efforts serve as a testament to the impact that grassroots activism and citizen participation can have in shaping public policy and promoting positive social change.

Part Six: Special Interest Groups and Public Policy

  • How do special interest groups seek to affect public policy?  Choose two special interest groups and explain their purpose. (1 paragraph for each interest group)
  • Choose an issue for each of the special interest groups and explain the impact the special interest group has had on this issue.  (2 paragraphs for each interest group) (examples:  American Hospital Association, American Medical Association, NAACP, Coalition to Stop Gun Violence)

Go to National Interest Groups to find more special interest groups https://usapoliticaldatabase.weebly.com/list-of-interest-groups.html

Special interest groups seek to influence public policy by advocating for specific causes, promoting their interests, and lobbying policymakers to support their agenda. Two examples of special interest groups are the American Medical Association (AMA) and the National Rifle Association (NRA).


The American Medical Association (AMA) is a professional organization representing physicians and medical students in the United States. Its purpose is to promote the art and science of medicine and the betterment of public health. The AMA advocates for healthcare policies that improve patient care, advance medical research, and ensure access to quality healthcare for all individuals.


One issue that the AMA has had a significant impact on is healthcare reform. Through lobbying efforts, public campaigns, and advocacy initiatives, the AMA has played a key role in shaping healthcare legislation, such as the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The AMA has advocated for policies aimed at expanding access to healthcare coverage, addressing disparities in healthcare access and outcomes, and promoting physician-led care delivery models.


The National Rifle Association (NRA) is a powerful lobbying organization that advocates for gun rights and the Second Amendment of the United States Constitution. Its purpose is to protect and defend the right of law-abiding citizens to keep and bear arms. The NRA works to influence firearms legislation at the federal and state levels, as well as to educate the public about gun safety and responsible gun ownership.


One issue that the NRA has had a significant impact on is gun control legislation. The NRA opposes measures aimed at restricting access to firearms, such as universal background checks, assault weapons bans, and limits on high-capacity magazines. Through lobbying efforts, campaign contributions, and grassroots mobilization, the NRA has successfully blocked or weakened many gun control proposals, shaping the debate on gun policy in the United States.


Part Seven: Healthcare Policies: Advocacy and Civic Engagement

  • To better understand public perception of public health practices, interview a friend, family member, or colleague regarding the advantage perceived by state laws or state recommendations on one of the following topics:
    • Prevention of childhood obesity through a healthy diet in school meals,
    • Adult immunization for COVID-19
    • Required helmet laws for motorcyclists

Interviewee: John (Friend)


Topic: Prevention of childhood obesity through a healthy diet in school meals


Interviewer: Can you share your thoughts on the advantages perceived by state laws or recommendations aimed at preventing childhood obesity through a healthy diet in school meals?


John: Sure. I think it’s crucial for schools to provide nutritious meals to children. State laws or recommendations can play a significant role in ensuring that schools prioritize healthy options and limit access to unhealthy foods like sugary snacks and sodas. By mandating healthier meal choices, children are more likely to develop good eating habits early on, which can reduce the risk of obesity and related health issues later in life.


Interviewer: Do you believe these measures have any specific advantages or benefits?


John: Absolutely. One advantage is that it helps children learn about the importance of nutrition and healthy eating habits. Many kids rely on school meals as a significant portion of their daily food intake, so ensuring these meals are nutritious can have a positive impact on their overall health and well-being. Additionally, by promoting healthier options, schools can contribute to reducing rates of childhood obesity and related health problems like diabetes and heart disease.


Interviewer: Are there any challenges or drawbacks you see with implementing such measures?


John: Well, one challenge could be resistance from students who may prefer less healthy options or who are used to certain types of foods. There could also be logistical challenges in terms of sourcing fresh and nutritious ingredients and ensuring that meals meet the nutritional requirements set by state guidelines. Additionally, there may be budgetary constraints that make it difficult for schools to afford healthier options, especially in low-income areas.


Interviewer: Overall, do you think these measures are necessary and beneficial for promoting public health?


John: Absolutely. I believe that promoting healthy eating habits in schools is essential for addressing the childhood obesity epidemic and improving the overall health of our youth. State laws or recommendations can provide important guidance and support for schools in implementing effective strategies to promote nutrition and wellness among students.

Describe the topic you selected. Then, describe your interviewee in terms of gender, age, and geographic location. Finally, explain your interviewee’s perspective on public health practices, how that perception might be influenced by his or her age, gender, or geographic location and whether you shared any common concerns with your interviewee.

Health Care Policy: Analyze the healthcare policy-making process for improving the health status of populations

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