The Link between Agenda Setting and Development of Legislation
Agenda setting and Development of legislation are all sub procedures that are done in the process of making health policies. The policy formulation phase entails the two sub procedures with the first step being agenda setting followed by legislation development. Agenda setting involves combination of all problems faced, discussion of their possible solutions, and political environment that would allow problems to be solved when making health policies (Longest, 2009). Legislation making follows agenda setting and involves drafting and introduction of legal proposals, referral to suitable governmental departments, house and senate floor action on law, necessary committee action, and presidential action on voted law (Longest, 2009)
Sources of Ideas for legislative proposals
There are three sources of ideas for legislative proposals which are:
Members of the senate and House of Representatives: They act on campaign promises that they had made to their constituents. The promises entail proposals that they will follow up once elected. The representatives could also propose amendments on existing laws or repeal them when in office in accordance to needs of their constituents (Longest, 2009).
Individual citizens, health related organizations, and interested groups: They petition the government to introduce certain proposals which may help citizens. Petitions are their right in accordance to the first amendment. Interested groups are mostly influential as they have vast resources and sit in the committees of agenda setting (Longest, 2009).
Executive Communication: Executive branch members communicate to legislative members on the need for introduction of certain legislations. Communication is usually in form of a letter with the executives being either, the president, senior cabinet officers, and leaders of independent agencies (Longest, 2009).
The phase is the next phase after policy formulation and is bridged by the formal enactment of legislation. Responsibilities in the phase shift between the legislative and executive with the judiciary also having a role in certain times. The phase entails two steps which are rulemaking and policy operation with the former being implemented before the latter (Longest, 2009). In the phase resources are managed including finances in such ways that goals and objectives contained in an enacted law are achieved. Furthermore, it is important to note that even though rule making precedes policy operations, operations feed back into rule making. This means that experience obtained in policy operation can influence rules modification.
Diver as quoted in Longest, (2009) insists that rulemaking in policy implementation is ‘the climatic act of policy making processes. This means that it involves the actual establishment of rules and subjecting them to trial for their success. Rules are established in the legislature branch and are majorly implemented in the executive branch. However, rules formed mostly do not benefit all interested groups in the society. There are some groups who oppose and others support both the regulatory and allocative policies of the legislature. These groups would then come out strongly by lobbying and other campaigns in support or opposing the regulations. In instances where opposition is too much judiciary would be involved where they would decide if the legislative would proceed into law or not.
Operation in Policy Making
Operation is found in the policy implementation phase and follows rulemaking. Operation involves all activities that result in the right implementation of proposed laws (Longest, 2009). For instance, operation in protecting environment from toxic substances include: measuring and assessing environment, or imposing fines. Operation stage is like a program and requires sound managerial skills in planning, organizing, staffing, leading, and controlling. The tasks involved in operation include the actual running of programs contained in the legislature. The stage is mainly run by appointees and civil servants of the government. In the operation stage if obstacles occur then a report is sent back to the legislature or executive so that the laws can be repelled or revised. This shows that the stage acts as a feedback for the rulemaking stage.
Concept of Incrementalism
Incrementalism is a policy modification procedure which involves continued modification with changes being modest—small step-wise procedures (Longest, 2009). This is opposed to wholesome changes in policies such as the health reform bill introduced by president Obama.
In the US, the power elite strongly resist rapid overhaul changes in public policies and instead prefer incremental changes. The reason for incremental changes is that they allow social and economic systems to adjust without being unduly threatened by change. This was supported by Longest, (2009) who posits that incremental policy making limits economic dislocation and results in minimal alteration in the social system’s status quo. Furthermore, it increases the likelihood of attaining compromises among diverse interests in the political environment.
Effects of Health Policies on Individuals, Health Related Organizations, and Interest Groups.
Individuals: Policies are made to control determinants of human health which are behaviors and biology, physical and social environment, and timing, type, and quality of health service. In doing so individuals can be able to: breathe cleaner or dirtier air; eat more or less healthier food; have more or less health care services; and benefit from more or fewer technological innovations.
HRO’s: Health Policies affect missions, objectives, and internal structures and resources of these organizations. They affect external environment of the organizations where they result in threats and opportunities. These organizations respond to threats and opportunities with strategies which require certain organizational structures to be implemented. This influences the performance of HRO’s.
Interest Groups: Health Policies in this groups influence the outline and pursuance of clear cut public policy agendas on behalf of members. In doing so the groups could easily make informed decisions whether to modify or repel policies.
Benefits and limitations of organizations and interest groups undertaking analysis of their policy environment.
Benefits are that entity leaders will be able to:
Organize complex information on public policy making procedures, and pressures and forces affecting them.
Identify and monitor current policies that will affect legislation
Predict current public policies that might affect legislation in the future
Link public policy information with legislation’s objectives and strategies hence better performance.
No one foretell the future through environmental analysis of public policy.
No one can interpret or understand the policy making process or every details.
Correct interpretation of the public policy on an organization is difficult to discern.
Hard to respond effectively to correctly discerned and interpretation of emergent policies.
Longest, B. B. (2009). Health Policymaking in the United States. Health Administration Press. Retrieved from EBSCOhost. Pp. 59-196