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Social Policy in the United States and Sweden: a look at healthcare and social assistance available in two countries - Essay Example

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Social Policy in the United States and Sweden: a look at healthcare and social assistance available in two countries

Two of these countries are Sweden and the United States of America. Both are considered first world countries with strong global markets, and are seen to be countries of considerable power. Yet there could scarcely be two more different social policies than those used in the United States and Sweden. While American public and social policy runs primarily on a capitalist system, Sweden runs on a socialist system. Both provide some social policy on housing, food, and healthcare, and have some sort of subsidy system in place. Beyond that, however and there are few similarities between the two. However, it is important to look at these two countries, different as they are, to get a more complete view of global healthcare and social welfare options, and how recent globalization has impacted them.
To understand fully the two systems, it is necessary to understand the overall concept of the policies, and how they affect the people who use them. It is also important to understand the history behind the policy; to see where the policy originally took root, and what is was meant to solve. With this knowledge, it is much easier to compare the two systems, and to have a better understanding of what they are, how they work, and how they are impacted by an increasing globalization in the modern world.
American Social Policy
The American welfare (social support) and healthcare system are borne from a desire for capitalism, and the overall goal of always creating profit, and independence for citizens. Currently, it relies primarily on food stamps, WIC (Women, infants and children), subsidized housing, and monthly subsidy checks. Food stamps work as a way for people to obtain food for free, up to a certain dollar amount. They work only to provide food, and can not be used to purchase alcohol. WIC is a similar program to food stamps, except that it is a short term program, and only provides certain foods to meet the needs of young children and mothers. This program allows exchange of coupons for common items such as bread, milk, and beans. Subsidized housing in the United States varies from state to state, with some states focusing on housing projects (large, apartment complex like or town home like buildings in which people reside for very little or no money) or on apartment complexes where people with meager incomes can live for a set cost while the government pays the rest of the monthly rent. Monthly subsidies, or welfare, are provided to those who are truly poor, and is a limited amount based on family situation, income, and how much the state can afford. There are also two healthcare programs available nationally, Medicare and Medicaid, which provide lower cost health care for those who can not afford health care, or have been refused by health care because of age or long term illness. These programs, while meant to provide a temporary relief to the person in need, also limit the possibility of that person moving out of the welfare system, since they are cut off when they start making an income, whether or not that income will support the family. How these programs came to be, however, explains much of their personality.
The History of American Social policy
American citizens had long ...Show more

Summary

Each country chooses to care for its people in its own ways. Some choose government based housing, some choose to ensure all citizens have jobs, and others rely on the kindness of other citizens to help those in need. In most first world governments, there is at least some system in place to help those who are less fortunate, or to make sure all citizens have access to healthy food, housing, and healthcare…
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Social Policy in the United States and Sweden: a look at healthcare and social assistance available in two countries essay example
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