Public opinion and lobbyist groups play an important mediating role when it comes to public policy. They influence the policy development process by conveying the interests of particular individuals so as to exert pressure and thereby influence policy development in a particular direction. The same case applies for public health policy where interested groups may lobby Congress or another governmental structure that may significantly influence such policy. Moreover, public opinion plays an important role in the enactment of health policy. Such public opinion provides guidance to congressmen as they vote, and it is one of the factors they rely on alongside the opinions of their colleagues (Chard, 2012). Public opinion is therefore significant for the purposes of congressional decision-making since Congress would not prefer to make an unpopular legislation. The Affordable Care Act is reviewed in terms of public opinion and lobbyist group influences.
The Affordable Care Act was passed in 2010. It aims to provide affordable access to health care, thereby making such access universal. The Act faced significant challenges during and after its enactment with individuals moving to the Supreme Court to challenge the validity and constitutionality of the act. In terms of public opinion, the act continually faced consistent support and opposition with frequent stints of interchange (Blake, 2014). However, the general pattern has been one of stasis.
A review of public opinion on the act appears to indicate a split along political lines. Political goodwill is important for adequate enactment and far-reaching impact of the Act. According to Barnes, states have the freedom to establish or not establish exchanges, whereby these challenges facilitate access to subsidized health plans (2014). States have the option to expand their Medicaid programs, which is what primarily influences the adoption of insurance among citizens. Expansion was experienced primarily in those states with Democratic leadership while those with Republican leadership mainly declined, though there were exceptions on both sides (Quealy & Sanger-Katz, 2014). This indicates the impact of public opinion on the Affordable Care Act. The uptake is largely skewed to reflect the political inclination of individuals.
The effect of lobbyist groups on the Affordable Care Act may also be perceived by reflecting on recent news articles. Lobbyist generally try to influence legislation by advocating for particular interest groups. Lobby groups have recently moved to the Supreme Court to challenge the constitutionality of the affordable Care Act, particularly the availability of subsidies to all those who qualify (Barnes, 2014). The lobbyist argue that subsidies should only be available to states that have established exchanges.
All in all, with reference to the Affordable Care Act, it would appear that public opinion has had a stronger influence. Despite some negative comments and reports on the act, public opinion has remained significantly in favor of the act. It has not suffered any significant distate with the public hence its continued sustenance. According to Blake, it requires much to change public opinion (2014). The type of information that may affect public opinion is that which is highly personal.
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