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Policy Formation: J.W. Kingdon, Research Paper Example

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Research Paper

J.W. Kingdon’s agenda setting model describes policy formulation as the confluence of problems, possible solutions to the problem, and political circumstances. President Clinton’s Health Reform Proposal of 1993 can be analyzed using the terms of Kingdon’s metaphor.

The problems that initiated the reform proposal were continually increasing health care costs, large percentage of uninsured Americans, and unrest over the current health care status. At the time of President Clinton’s election, both the public and political atmosphere seemed to favor health care reform. The medical community and related businesses were interested in any plan that might shift costs for the uninsured from them to the government. Health care reform was rated by the public as one of the most urgent problems facing the nation. The issue was so prevalent, that Harris Wofford managed to take the Pennsylvania Senate seat by pushing the health care issue in 1991. (Bok, 1998)

Clinton’s solution was a plan for universal health care coverage. After his election, he formed a task committee headed by his wife, Hillary, to construct such a plan. On September 22, 1993, Clinton presented his fully constructed health care plan to Congress. The plan was met with widespread initial public support. At this point the problem of the rising costs of health care was identified and a possible solution in Clinton’s Health Reform Proposal submitted. (Laszewski, 2008)

It was political circumstances that killed the health reform proposal. During Clinton’s election campaign and the few months it took the task force to outline and put together a plan, the political climate seemed to back Clinton. This favorable climate for health care reform was a key proponent of his election to the presidency. When it came to Congress to enact law, however, the policy never came close to legislation. It is interesting that the meat of the proposal was kept mostly secret. The public was hyped up and ready to back reform, however there was confusion about how the proposed plan would actually work. What it seems Clinton had, was something with considerable political impact, enough to get him elected, but ultimately lacking in political approval. (Bok, 1998)

References

Bok, D. (1998). The Great Health Care Debate of 1993-94. Retrieved July 22, 2012, from http://www.upenn.edu/pnc/ptbok.html

Laszewski, R. (2008, January 15). An Analysis of Senator Hillary Clinton’s Health Plan Proposal . Retrieved July 22, 2012, from Health Care Policy and Marketplace Review: http://healthpolicyandmarket.blogspot.com/2007/10/analysis-of-senator-hillary-clintons.html

Longest, Beaufort B. Health Policymaking in the United States. 4th ed. Chicago: AUPHA Press, 2006.

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