Guide on How to Write University Essays, Courseworks, Assignments and Dissertations

Social Policy, health issues and Social work

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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 (, 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 health issues 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.” (, 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]).





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