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How public opinion and the media influence health care policy - Essay Example

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Public policy depends on numerous factors, the most important and the most influential ones being inside the government including the president and members of the Administration or the Legislature. But besides these, other, very influential factors who are present outside the government too affect public policy agendas which encompass the issues or tribulations relating to people those government officials with a connection to government need to attend to…
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How public opinion and the media influence health care policy
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Download file to see previous pages Any one or all of these processes can prompt or even hinder political action thereby advancing an issue to an elevated level of consideration and has the ability to instigate substitute solutions or hammer it down absolutely. On the contrary, need of community approval and dominant resistance has the ability to keep an issue low on the public's agenda and subsequently on the policy agenda as well.
While it is usually the government officials who eventually make a decision about which issues will be acted upon, interest groups, researchers, academics, consultants, the media, political parties and the public does have the dominant capability of influencing and determining the ultimate course of action. An excellent example is Andrea Baker's analysis of AIDS coverage suggests that the media may have encouraged policy-makers to respond to the AIDS crisis by helping to educate them about the potential threat to mainstream constituents. (Andrea J. Baker, The Portrayal of AIDS in the Media: An Analysis of Articles in the New York Times in The Social Dimensions of AIDS: Method and Theory, D.A. Feldman and T.M. Johnson, eds. New York: Praeger, 1986, pp. 163-178.)
Public interest groups, now with the amplification of tec...
Media attention to a problem influences decision-making since policymakers appreciate the role of mass media in shaping public opinion and they want public opinion to constantly be on their side.We live in a fast-paced world and because sometimes the public's attention span is limited, the media may cover a story prominently but only for a short period of time. The media has to constantly and unwaveringly press on significant issues by keeping them alive and discussed as this has a direct affect on public policy. The media may help to educate policy-makers, who often cite mainstream news media as important sources of information about policy issues, including health care (Carol H. Weiss, What America's Leaders Read. Public Opinion Quarterly, 1974, pp. 1-21)
The media only covers an issue when it is interesting and issues related to the general and specific health of the people are gaining more and more importance with each passing day. These are sometimes complex issues that necessitating a great deal of sustained media attention, and education, background information, solid scientific study and impeccable experts on health issues are invaluable to the overall success of the efforts of the press, the public and policymakers. The media acts as a communiqu device within the policy community welcoming people scattered both inside and outside the government dealing with similar problems each day, to communicate in indirect ways. The interaction of government officials may not be on a daily basis, but they along with most of the public read newspapers or receive some form of news via the media. Communicate with the public and policymakers can be thus achieved by effectively ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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