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?

Essay by AngelusTVSUniversity, Master'sA+, September 2007

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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,