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The rule of every government is based, in large part, on its ability to manage social risks. Unemployment produces unrest when it affects a sufficiently large percentage of the population, and so governments must find a balance between providing a safety net for its most vulnerable members while giving those who are able the incentive to go out and find productive employment…
And so governments have to decide which programs will best reward the investment of tax dollars (Merkhofer 1987).
One of the most controversial areas of public policy involves health care for that part of the population least able to pay for their own care. Socioeconomic status has been identified as a powerful factor in one's health (Bloomberg, Meyers and Braverman 1994). The more health problems that those citizens at the lower end of the socioeconomic spectrum have, the greater the tax burden will be on the rest of the citizenry.
However, while the politics of money should play a significant part in the development of social policy, there is also the idea of social justice to consider. Social justice takes on many definitions, depending on the political leanings of the definer, but the general idea involves the creation of a sense of fairness or equality of opportunity to members at all socioeconomic levels of a society (Jordan 1998; Marshal, Swift, and Roberts 2002). Under the Thatcher administration, inequalities in access to quality health care began to widen in British society (Wagstaff, Paci, and van Doorslaer 1991). ...
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