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Cultural and Ethnic Studies

Question

In this assignment, you will examine the ideological struggles that underlie policymaking in the United States. This includes the following:
•The historical legacy of fear of a strong central government and how this fear has influenced the development of the US Constitution.
•The ideological divisions in the United States’ politics which fall primarily along a Conservative–Liberal continuum. 

Research areas of social welfare policy using your textbook, the Argosy University online library resources, and the Internet.

Select an area of social welfare policy in which you are interested. Respond to the following: 
•Identify the aspects of the policy that reflect a conservative perspective and the aspects that reflect a liberal perspective. 
•Explain the impact of the mixed ideological foundation on the focus and structure of the policy.

The political ideologies of a country are very specific to its cultural history. Keeping this in mind, respond to the following:
•Discuss how the policymaking of one other country aligns with or differs from the United States due to its cultural history. 
•Provide examples to explain why the policymaking is similar or different

Answer

Philosophical Viewpoints on Social Welfare Policies

Policymaking in the United States is marked and influenced by deep and long-standing ideological differences that have characterized the nation since its founding. For instance, the relationship between a strong central government and the Constitution has always been very clear but widely contested. The ensuing debate has influenced the policies implemented by successive governments.

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The divisions manifested by the conservative-liberal schism have massively influenced U.S. politics as well as its social welfare policy making. Areas of agreement and controversy persist as different people and interest groups continue to align themselves with different positions within the continuum. Some of the important social welfare areas based on which citizens’ ideological views take shape include social security, pensions, urbanization, health care, education policies and criminal justice.

In the example of healthcare, one may notice that the U.S. healthcare system has been heavily affected by diverse arguments within the ideological continuum, the provisions of the Constitution and policies of the federal government. Liberals support universal healthcare while the conservatives heavily lean towards allowing private companies to provide healthcare services of higher value and in a supposedly more efficient manner. The former are popular supporters of Medicare, Medicaid and Obamacare. In contrast, conservatives regard this approach as unsustainable in the long run based on the argument that low-cost government-funded programs ultimately result in extremely high costs for the government and subsequent poor health care.  Instead, they advocate for a privately-funded and competitive system that will deliver better quality of care.

The idea of government-funded healthcare has been championed for by many liberal presidents including the current one, Barack Obama. Obama’s proposed policy is founded on the idea of providing access to healthcare to all Americans regardless of their financial status. The resulting requirements being enforced on medical insurance have ensured a wider reach in terms of medical cover for a wide section of the American population regardless of financial position, age or gender. At the same time, conservatives claim that as a result, U.S. healthcare system has become inefficient and incapable of providing quality medical care.

As aforementioned, both the Constitution and federal government have affected the health care policies in terms of defining the role of privately-operated healthcare systems. The fear of a strong and socialism-oriented government has contributed to decreased efficiency and reach of the healthcare system at a national level. Similarly, state provisions have been used to undermine constitutional requirements in relation to efforts to synchronize the national health system at either private or public levels.

In terms of funding, the current U.S. healthcare policy is based on a mix of private, public and non-profit providers. By comparison, the United Kingdom has implemented a system of universal healthcare under the National Health Service which provides treatment for free at the point of service. The system is funded by the central government through taxation. This huge difference between the US and the UK is in regards to government structure. The UK government is structured and run centrally following its traditional monarch system. In contrast, America has retained a majorly decentralized system that epitomizes its traditional government and political culture of decentralized federal power to individual states. This culture is reflected in the Constitution and it is on this basis that the traditional ideologies continue to be supported in successive administrations.

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