Analyzing the Policy Making Process Term Paper

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Policy Making Process

Welfare Reform Policy Analysis

Success of welfare reform is ambiguous. Media and well-known public officials claim to have had achieved welfare reforms. However, after 4 years of new policy regime, majority also accepts that welfare reforms have been successfully achieved. Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) also validates this by stating that welfare rolls have dropped by 53% to 6.28 million recipients in June 2000 from 12.24 million recipients in August 1996 (Administration for Children and Families 2001). Moreover, researches have also stated that people are becoming well (Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation [ASPE] 2000). Observers suggest that welfare reform is indisputably successful and is self-evident.

TANF progress is successful as reform is evaluated by putting leavers and caseloads in a shared frame of reference. Undoubtedly, mass media has played an important role in framing this reference. Similar stories by different journalists are often given hype as these journalists work in same place, follow similar organizational routines, or are connected with other on social networks (Schram and Soss, 2001). Journalists often rely on credible government sources to build such stories that are interesting and fulfill the norms of objectivity (Schram and Soss, 2001). Reporters make use of narrative conventions not only to dramatize such stories but to normalize them as well. Likelihood of same report being run on different media increases under usage of wire stories and concentrated ownership.

It is natural that involvement of multiple bodies in one policy framework and decision leads to varying ideas which may conflict with each other as well. Hence, the information flow becomes competitive. Media highlights the competition of information, and political parties use this competition to earn name and fame. The impression presented by media is important as people generally find it difficult to come out of its influence and ignore the voice of elite members of society. The politicians may be sincere to bring about reforms, and media highlights the stories of elite members who are involved in reform process. 1980s and 1990s particularly witnessed the dependency and welfare reforms.

Self sufficiency is the result of transition that takes place because of dependency discourse. Public assistance plays vital role in it. Policy success is the function of how effective these reforms are and how policy makers participate in them. Public assistance ensures participation from the social stakeholders who are passing through certain social problems and want solution in the forms of reforms. It is, therefore, important to mention that reforms are important for policy makers and individuals as well. In order to understand the reason of transformation from welfare reform to policy success, it is important to investigate the reasons of prevalence of discourse and its evaluation criteria. The evaluation criterion is important to measure as it designs the perspective in which reform takes place (Schram and Soss, 2001).

Healthcare Reform Policy Analysis

Policy process is a comprehensive process consisting of many steps. These steps include problem definition and inclusion of this definition in the public agenda. The last step is bringing the desired change in the existing policy.

The policy process is a complex process following unpredictable patterns and sequence of activities. It is difficult to think of a linear flow for these steps; however classification of steps is a mandatory requirement for process analysis. It is divided in five steps or phases. These phases are 1) policy formulation, 2) policy legislation, 3) policy implementation, 4) institutional change, and 5) reform consolidation1. At each phase and milestone, the feasibility of the reform needs to be evaluated. In institutional framework, crucial points occur at various stages and significant points such as Congress, bureaucracy and the President's Office (Rossetti and Bossert, 1999).

At each of these points, certain actors affect the policy and reform. These actors differentiate in their power and influence over the framework hence their impact over the reform is also different. Their…

Sources Used in Document:

References

Administration for Children and Families. (2001). Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), 1936-2000. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Available at: http://www.acf.dhhs.gov/news/stats/3697.htm

Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation. 2000. Leavers and Diversion Studies: Summary of Research on Welfare Outcomes Funded by ASPE. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

LAC. (2000). Policy Toolkit for Strengthening Health Sector Reform. LAC Health Sector Reform Initiative.

Rossetti, A.G. And Bossert, T.J. (1999). Comparative Analysis of Policy Processes: Enhancing the Political Feasibility of Health Reform. LAC, Health Sector Reform Initiative.

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