Health Policies in the Military, Veterans and Private Sector


A policy is described as a deliberate plan of action to guide decisions and achieve national outcomes. There are many types of policies depending on the institution and the outcome required. This context is going to look at what a health policy is and how is it different in the Military Health System, The Veteran Administration and the Private sector. It is important to get the meaning of what health care entails and means so that we can analyze the differences of health policies in the three different institutions named above.

Therefore, it can be termed as a statement of decision regarding a goal in health care and a plan for achieving for achieving that goal; for example to prevent an epidemic. It is a unique partnership of medical educators, medical researchers, and health care providers and their support personnel worldwide. It is prepared to respond anytime, anywhere with comprehensive medical capabilities around the globe (Abel-Smith, 1986).

Health policies

The military health issues are handled by an organization in the Department of Defense known as Military Health System. It is considered an enterprise in the Department of Defense. Its main objective is to provide health care to active military personnel as well as retired military personnel. In this respect it is supposed to provide health care for the military so that they can perform their duties in accordance to the nation’s requirement. The medication is mostly offered free to all military personnel and some family members. Apart from that, it is supposed to check the physical capabilities of current service men and service women who are supposed to be involved in various military operations including wars and hostilities (Fuenzalida-Puelma, 1985).

A war veteran is a person who has or is working in the armed forces, or a person who has had a long service or experience in an occupation or office. A veteran administration on the other hand is a federal government agency that among other things aids veterans of the United States in obtaining housing and health. The government policies on issues of war veterans’ health has provided that they receive medical care in various institutions around the world.

Apart from that the Veteran Administration which is responsible for well being of veterans also has a responsibility to the veteran’s immediate relatives and those surviving war veterans who have died whether in service or not retired. This means that the health concerns of all veterans and relations of veterans are supposed to be taken care of by the Veteran Administration (Ginzberg, 1992).

In private health policies, individuals are given health insurance which is funded by various organizations and the government. People are supposed to pay for the health insurance although there are some organizations that cater for the people who cannot afford to pay for the health insurance. However, there a lot of people who cannot afford the health insurance and hence the need for the government to come up with new policies addressing the issue of health in the private sector. There have been rising concerns about the number of people who cannot afford health insurance (Cooper, Weil, 1990).

Conflicts that may arise in the three policies

Naturally, the three policies may conflict if the government implements policies that favors one side more than the other two. This implies that if the government implements a policy that would require many of the health resources in the country to be directed to the Military Health Service, the private sector and the Veteran Administration may suffer from lack of resources. This implies that the government would not be balanced in its health service to the people.

At some time however, it is necessary for the government to employ more resources in one of the sectors and in so doing the government reduces the resources that are to be given to other sectors. This mainly happens when the country is in war and the Military Health Service requires more resources because of the victims of war. In another scenario, there could be an epidemic and the government would have to focus its health resources to the private sector which caters for many people especially the citizens. This means that the government would have to deny the Veteran administration and Military Health Service some of the resources that would be needed in the private sector (Abel-Smith, 1986).

The change of health policies does not necessarily have to be subjected to many political resources and debates in some instances. However, when the government is considering implementing some policies that could lead to one sector being threatened, then political debates are necessary. This is especially in cases where the government is spending most of its resources with the military when in a war that is not necessary and the country can do without. This is why sometimes the politicians are involved in a lot of political debates on the issues of health. The underlying issue is that the government could have wrongfully employed many of its resources to one sector at the cost of the other sectors (Cooper, Weil, 1990).


Abel-Smith, Brian (1986). The World Economic Crisis: Part I: Repercussions on Health. Health Policy and Planning, 1(3):210-11.

Cooper, Weil (1990). The Impact of Development Policies on Health: A Review of the Literature. World Health Organization, Geneva.

Fuenzalida-Puelma, H; Scholle Connor, H. eds. (1989). The Right to Health in the Americas: A Comparative Constitutional Study. PAHO, Washington, DC.

Ginzberg, E. (1992). Health care and the market economy–A conflict of interest? New England Journal of Medicine, 323(1):72-74.