Policy, Power and Politics in Health Care


Stakeholders in development are personalities or organizations with vested interests in a process or policy development. Policy analysts have for a long time been conscious of the role played by stakeholders as well as the importance of an all inclusive approach to policy making by characterizing all the interest groups which influence and impact on policy making. Political expression in Australia, as certainly is the case all over the western democracies and extra participants in the spar of civilizations has of late become subject of the dichotomy in which the world is separated into competing factions (Taylor, Foster, & Flemming, 2007 p 38). Policymakers and executives should be more informed on the political setting neighboring their reforms so as to be better prepared to take the plunge to guarantee the entire realization of health sector reforms.

Main body

Policymaking approaches have always focused on the formal and informal interest groups which shapes decision making and often set the agenda for policy formulation. The predominance of institutions in clarifying policy outcomes specifically facilitates or impedes the admission of different factions into the policy-making process. Diverse procedures for making policy decisions frame policy debates: They modify the range of players that are brought into the decision-making practice and provide discrete sets of benefits and drawbacks to groups yearning to advance their interests (Germov, 2009, p54).

Not only do political bodies radically transform the poise of pressure-group power, they also have an influence on the part played by professional politicians, policy makers in administrative bureaucracies, as well as by the general public. Institutional practices are frequently renegotiated through political deals. This adds an irregular component to policy outcomes (Bardach, 2000, p15).

Health policies as well as the organization of health care are the yield of the societal and political forces that exist at a given time and shape vested interests. Institutions are basically instruments of political decision making whose consequence changes as political players put them to new-fangled uses (Reilly, 2006, p 23). Realization of political institutions can offer imminent into why the account of health care politics in Australia unfolded as it did, however the history itself is far better-off and less resolute than the stripped skeleton of the institutional scrutiny. More essentially, the routine rules by which policy decisions are prepared affect the manner in which matters are labeled and the types of proof that can be brought to stand in settling policy disputes.

Systems for representing interests choose different kinds of information in dissimilar political systems, in so doing structuring political clashes. Health services managers have to to understand the political atmosphere in which decisions are made, the way health policies are devised and ratified and how they are received (Taylor, Foster, & Flemming, 2007 p 42). The subject wraps the theoretical outline for studying strategy and politics particularly in line with government policy, and the ways policies are prepared, the balance of power between different stakeholders in the development of health services policies and decisions.

In Australia, the Commonwealth has a headship part in health policy-making, principally in national matters like health, and state information management. The Department of Health and Ageing gives policy recommendation to the Federal administration and runs its health and ageing programmes. It lays down national health strategies and supports financially the provision of health services by government and the private sector. An ageing population in Australia poses far-reaching challenges. Deliberations have been inclined to center on the likely health and economic costs; nevertheless few features of Australian people will remain unmoved by the issue. The huge majority of conditions accountable for the burden of disease in Australia has increased with ageing expected to increase the percentage of the population with illness and disability and will lead to considerable increases in the demand for health services (Daniels, Light, and Caplan 1996, p. 228).

There has been a turn down in long-stay hospitalization, a swell over many years in the cases of acute illnesses for which day hospitalization is appropriate and a stable increase in chronic illnesses most excellent handled in primary care. The policy response is lagging and thus still using hospitals as well as specialists for conditions that evidence recommends are more cost-effectively run by primary care teams (Lin Smith, and Fawkes 2006). although the prospective workforce scarcity in general practice and in other primary health imply the necessity for a primary health care policy with primary health personnel planning as a fundamental component.

Several proposals arising from anxiety over the usefulness of the existing government repayment for private health insurance have been put forward. The Australian Council of Social Service has suggested getting rid of the immunity from the one per cent Medicare tax addendum for high-income citizens who pull out from private health insurance. The argument is that the additional revenue generated could be used to finance greater investment in local health, oral health and community-owned health care services in regions of squat service supply (Reilly, 2006, p 26).

Ever since its introduction in 1984, key political parties have been devoted to the maintenance of Medicare. As a result, there have been no elemental changes to the organization. With a view to make the Medicare system fiscally sustainable, the Commonwealth government has influenced the development of personal financing and delivery planning working in parallel to the public system that presents universal way in to many Australians (Germov, 2009, p116).

In general, great improvements have been effected in the health of the population during the last few decades. On the other hand, these improvements have not been felt evenly throughout the community. Certain factions within Australia, chiefly Indigenous Australians, have markedly shoddier health than the general population. A considerable ongoing health challenge is to tackle these inequalities. It is going to be vital for women’s organizations to keep a thorough watch on the amendments and developments in health policy as the demographics transform and the population ages since the system has to advance in all areas, counting access, affordability and staff shortages (Costello-Nickitas, Middaugh, & Aries, 2011).

Consistent ridges of health care expenditures cannot be attained simply by relating fractious sectional data on age-precise health care expenditures to demographic projections. Relatively it is argued that in the light of broad disparities in health expenditure in due course, distinct population trends, the most important causes of changes in expenditure levels are phases of health care policy in the way the health care system is structured and evolving (Lin Smith, and Fawkes 2006 p68).

Australia’s history leads to this analysis, and in looking to solutions for the future, we need to examine well past, and maybe through the ranks of the demographic projections that appear to cast a tightly packed net over the wits of many. The notion that since we spend more money on the elderly than on the remainder of the population, and the aged population is predicted to increase above the rest of the population, there will be a multiplier result that will see health expenditures shoot exponentially is as unrelenting as it is counterfeit. It pays no attention to the relations with many other variables, principally the pace at which the gross domestic product grows (Barraclough, & Gardner, 2008, p26).

In terms of policy, perceiving the means is as indispensable a prerequisite for successful implementation as understanding that the program changes outcomes e.g. reducing the number of unemployed should be a social policy concern. In its place, the spotlight has been on keeping people longer in the wealth-creating workforce.


It is alluring to be content about Australia’s health policies. Regarding indicators for example life expectancy along with morbidity figures, Australia is amongst the healthiest of all Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) nations. There has been remarkable progress on sinking the burden of circulatory diseases. Equally, many lifestyle indicators are encouraging; with few developed nations having rates of smoking as stumpy as Australia’s, in addition to leading the world AIDS programs. Accidents and injuries, though still higher than some other states, are on a continuing downward trend (Andrews, 2002, p 63).

However there is an intolerable point of complacency involving health and health care. Politicians consider the system to be essentially in excellent shape, at most yielding that perhaps not many Commonwealth/state harmonization problems need fixing. This perception neglects the more serious problems of twin responsibility and broad program fragmentation. They may accept that private health insurance may need improvement, while forgetting the trend for a service given at no cost at the time of delivery to be hackneyed. This moral hazard is intrinsic in the entire insurance, particularly private insurance. In addition, those who are complacent about the status quo also close their eyes to our greatest shortcoming, which is inequity in health outcomes.

Health policy results are outcomes of give and take between the interests of government along with the various interest groups, for the most part of which are those factions representing doctors. To enhance support or build compromise for change, policymakers as well as directors must take extra for instance constituency-building, and use of information on existing stakeholders to grow and execute strategic communication, support, and concession plans.

Government policies can have conflicting effects on efforts to encourage participation. The governments set policies and programs to give confidence and support participation whereas other administrative policies or its failure to offer adequate funds weaken the commitment to participation. Australia Collaborates on a routine basis with stakeholders in addressing policy challenges, for instance the sustainability of the health system at a time of increasing public prospects, costs shortages in the workforce and a low investment in prevention of chronic diseases.

There is a need to shift from passive and move down to business ensuring that participation is not intended only as a rejoinder to political and policy essentials (Althaus, Bridgman, & Davis, 2007). It is reasonable to say that the current health system is as much a creation of historical vagaries with political accommodation as it is of coherent public administration. It is also rational to believe that any levelheaded person presented with the chance to build a health system from scratch would not likely replicate the Heath provisions we now have under the federal division of errands.

Some health policies fail because commitments were never followed through with execution plans or because of the obduracy that repeatedly characterizes Commonwealth State consultations. Federalism has created as a dysfunctional mess with arrangements which leave coherent policy making more or less impossible. Increasing or re-allocating public finance to support action across the social determinants of health and health-related behaviors is primary to enhanced health and health equity.

References List

Althaus, C., Bridgman, P, & Davis, G.I. 2007. The Australian policy handbook (4th ed). Crows Nest, NSW :Allan and Unwin.

Andrews, K. 2002. National Strategy for an Ageing Australia.. Australia: Commonwealth of Australia.

Bardach, E. 2000. A Practical Guide for Policy Analysis. Chatham House Publishers, New York.

Barraclough, S. & Gardner, H. (eds) 2008, Analyzing health policy: A problem-oriented approach, Churchill Livingstone Elsevier., Sydney.

Costello-Nickitas, d. M., Middaugh, d. J., & Aries, n. 2011. Policy and politics for nurses and other health professions: advocacy and action. Sudbury, Mass, Jones and Bartlett Publishers.

Daniels N, Light D, and Caplan R. 1996. Benchmarks of Fairness for Health Care Reform. Oxford University Press, New York.

Gardner, H., & Gardner, H. 1997. Health policy in Australia. Melbourne, Oxford University Press.

Germov, J. (ed.) 2009, Second opinion an introduction to health sociology, 4th edn, Oxford University Press, South Melbourne.

Gray, G. 1998. Access to Medical Care under Strain: New Pressures in Canada and Australia. Journal of Health Politics, Policy and Law. 23, 905.

Lin V, Smith J, and Fawkes S. 2006. Public Health Practice in Australia: The organized effort. Allen & Unwin, Sydney.

Reilly, S. 2006. Medicare reform 2003-2004: an analysis of competing structural interests on policy. Thesis (M.Publ.Hlth.) — La Trobe University.

Taylor, S., Foster, M., & Flemming, J. 2007. Health care practice in Australia: policy, context and innovations. South Melbourne, Vic, Oxford University Press.

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