Mental Health Coverage

Short Policy Analysis PaperEach student will select a policy issue that is related to health or has an impact on health. A document detailing potential topics is available on Canvas, but keep in mind that these are only guidelines. Certainly, many other topics would work for this assignment. Of interest this semester might be topics related to Covid-19.This assignment has two goals: first, to give you the opportunity to explore a health policy or health-related issue, problem, or program of your choice and possible solutions to same in some depth. Second, to teach you how to use policy analysis, i.e. to guide you through a systematic policy analysis of your own. This is also an exercise in making tradeoffs. You will develop criteria against which to evaluate policy alternatives and use those criteria to confront the tradeoffs and to formulate a recommendation. No one solution you design will meet all your criteria if you have specified them correctly, so choices must be made.The policy analysis paper will be a maximum of 4000 words (approximately 16 pages), not counting the title page or reference pages. Any overage will not be read. The paper will contain the following sections:Introduction and Problem Statement (1½-2 pages): In your introduction (1½ to 2 pages in length), construct an overview of your identified health policy issue and its relationship to the health of the affected population group.• Your problem statement should focus on the root or underlying problem, not the solution.• Describe the incidence and prevalence of the problem. Who is affected? • Or, if examining a specific policy, what is that policy designed to do? What are the policy’s goals and objectives?Assemble Evidence (3-5 pages): Provide specific background and context for the question/problem.• You will have identified the size and some characteristics of the affected population group(s) in the introduction, so provide more detail here such as, identification of risk factors, causes, known prevention measures; any efficacious evidence-based diagnosis and treatment that may or may not be available for the at-risk population and this specific health problem.• What situations/barriers exist in the community that prevent elimination or decrease in this health problem? What is the root cause of this problem (if known or hypothesized)?• What situations/supports exist in the community that facilitate prevention, elimination or decrease in this health problem?• (optional) How is this problem impacted by Covid-19?Construct Alternative Policy Responses (2-4 pages): Discuss the alternative policy responses under consideration (at least 3, where one may be the “do nothing” option). Examine the “best practices” of other agencies or other states/countries, as well as policy proposals that are emerging. The discussion of each option should be balanced and should reflect the evidence/ data indicating degree of potential utility. Under what conditions are options likely to be most useful?• What policies or programs already exist that are aimed at solving or remediating this problem?• What happens if the problem continues (if we choose the “do nothing” policy option)?List Specific Criteria Used in Making Evaluation (1-2 pages): State the criteria that you will use to score the alternatives explicitly. Specific criteria depend on context of problem, but typically include such issues as mitigating measurable indicators associated with problem, cost-efficiency, social justice, and equity.• What are plausible goals for intervention?Apply Criteria and Project Outcomes (2-4 pages): Apply the Criteria to each of the policy alternatives using the most appropriate methodology. This should be done in a transparent manner, with all data and results listed explicitly. If possible, score the alternatives. Summarize comparative assessment using a matrix or similar summary display (see example in lecture).Recommendation (1-2 pages): Close the Policy Analysis with a recommendation that summarizes the preferred policy option. Justify why this option is preferred over the others. If the policy options are weighted and scored, identify the criteria used to score the options, and their order of priority.I am NOT requiring a specific number of citations or sources for this paper, but you should consult a mix of published academic journal articles, reports found on web sites of think tanks, advocacy organizations, or government agencies (known as “gray literature”), and regular news sources. The mix should be adequate to support the claims made in your paper, and all sources should be credible.

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