When social policy pertaining
to health issues
and social work
are discussed, the basic question arises as to whether or not the society has the responsibility to provide universal health
care to all citisens, or if health issues should be left to personal choice and market factors to decide. The two basic
views are that social
policy should in fact provide these services at an affordable or subsidised rate to all citisens,
as in a socialist system, or that the social policy should provide a basic “safety net” and provide emergency
health care, critical services, and other essential medical treatments for the poor who cannot afford it only, as in a reformed
capitalist system. As a rule, the Western European countries, China, and Russia have gone with the socialised set up with
varying degrees of success on health issues, while the American model has been in private sector based health care on
an insurance company platform, with social work programs such as Medicare, Medicaid, Veteran’s hospitals, and Community
Health Clinics for poor neighborhoods (medicare.gov, 2007 [online]).
There is a clear problem in the
American system where many people continue to unable to afford basic health care
services, but with the public at large unwilling to embrace a Socialised system. The last major attempt at social policy reform of
the American system was introduced in the early part of the Clinton administration, but was sunk by Congress at the
time over partisan political reasons. The mixture of partisan politics with social policy is to be expected in a Democratic system,
as that is a primary aspect of the platform philosophy of the parties as to the nature of government. But others argue that
are basic human rights and thus, not best mixed with the political. This view has been embraced and posited by most countries
in the United Nations through the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which states, “Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for
the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social
services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of
livelihood in circumstances beyond his control.” (un.org, 2007 [online]).
The United Nations and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights express the
interest and view point of the developing nations on health issues and social policy which stands outside of the Western European, G8, and American models of development. Many developing
nations have extreme health issues related to poverty, health care emergencies,
a general lack of resources for social work, and lack of sufficient trained personnel
to provide universal health care for all citisens. To assist with this, various non-governmental organisations, aid agencies,
and UN groups operate development assistance and social work programs in health issues for developing nations. Some examples of these types of social
work in health issues are the World Health Organisation, The Pan American
Health Organisation, and the United Nations Children’s Fund (Unesco). (imva, 2007 [online]).
1) URL http://www.medicare.gov. Last accessed, Nov. 11th, 2007.
2) URL: http://www.un.org/Overview/rights.html . Last accessed, Nov. 11th, 2007.
3) URL: http://www.imva.org/Pages/orgbio.htm. Last accessed, Nov. 11th,