For the Policy Memo, please think about a specific issue within one of the 3 topics (IMMIGRATION REFORM) IS THE TOPIC…that you would
like to analyze and/or make a policy recommendation on. Write the memo in a convincing, realistic
way. Don’t forget to provide sources for everything you write that is not your own thought!
Your memo should be between 350 and 500 words long (exclusive of citations). Please read the
following instructions regarding content and structure (taken from Cornell College) and try to stick
to them. At the end, you will find a sample memo.
Once you have written your memo and reviewed it thoroughly, upload it to Turnitin via Blackboard.
The deadline for uploading your memo is Sunday, Apr 19, 11:59 pm. Make sure to upload your
Memo until then; late submissions will not be accepted.
If you have any questions, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Be sure to …
? Address it to the governmental official who has the most authority to deal with this issue. If you write to the chair of a legislative committee, verify that his or her committee has the jurisdiction to do what you propose. Be careful about addressing it to the President. Generally, a cabinet officer or a chair of a Congressional committee
will have more authority than the President.
? Use statistical data to define the problem. Choose your sources carefully. Choose
persuasive data to explain your position. If you rely on data from the Internet, be certain that it is credible. List only those sources that you used heavily. A laundry list of citations and footnotes will not be considered.
? Make your recommendations specific, clear, and understandable.
You wouldn’t want the intended recipient to say, “So what exactly am I supposed to do?”
? Handle obstacles fairly. Don’t just say not enough money or votes but capture briefly the legitimacy of the opposition.
SAMPLE POLICY MEMO
The proposal below is a sample that meets all of the guidelines discussed above.
To: Donna Shalala
Office Held: Secretary, Department of Health and Human Services From: [Insert Name]
Health care in America is in crisis. 53 million Americans will lack health insurance by 2007 (1). The most at-risk segment of our population are children and protecting their health should be our country’s first priority. Despite efforts to make health coverage more accessible, over 11 million children are still without health insurance, and nearly 3 million are in poor or only fair health (2). Past efforts by the federal government to increase health
coverage to all Americans have been woefully inadequate. Nearly half of the beneficiaries of Medicaid in 1992 were children (3). In addition, studies have shown that three-fourths of uninsured Americans have full or part-time employment (4). By covering children who are uninsured, and by extending coverage to their families, we can decrease the number of uninsured individuals within the working classes.
Stronger measures must be undertaken to decrease these numbers. Any adequate response to America’s health crisis will require time, effort, and energy, but the necessity in guaranteeing health coverage to all Americans, and especially to our youth, demands it. I propose three policy initiatives. First, expand the Child Health Insurance Program (CHIP). Second, target individuals eligible for CHIP in their home states and enroll them in the program. Finally, expand CHIP to include the parents and families of the children enrolled in the program. CHIP matches states that cover children in families with up to 200% of poverty. By expanding CHIP to children up to 250% the level of poverty (approximately $41,000 for a family of four), we would immediately reach an additional one million children. Also of concern are the over two million uninsured children who live in households with incomes above 250% of poverty. By allowing these families to buy into CHIP, with a premium less costly than most private options, even more children would be insured. CHIP should actively target children enrolled in school lunch programs, who are often eligible to receive CHIP or Medicaid. In addition, the application process should be made more accessible and uniform across the country to ensure participation and enrollment, and should be made available not only in schools, but day care centers and clinics. Finally, most uninsured children (over 85%) come from families where the parents themselves are uninsured (5). By extending CHIP coverage to parents, many Americans would be provided with an affordable healthcare option. The expansion of CHIP to cover the over seven million uninsured parents whose
children take advantage of the program would be an efficient, beneficial, and family friendly solution.
Major Obstacles/Implementation Challenges
Opponents of this plan may argue that the resource-intensive nature of this program is beyond the scope of the federal government’s duties or that it may cost too much. Upon examining the plan, however, one will note that most of the burden is distributed between federal and state institutions [Note, too, that the Federal government would increase the CHIP allotment only as states expand eligibility.] Given the cost splitting of this program, no one institution will be forced to bear an excessive burden. The supplemental premiums brought by individuals will further offset costs of the program. Given this nation’s recent unprecedented peacetime economic growth, there would be no better time to initiate such change. If we wait, and the economy worsens, this country could be faced with a burden of upwards of 60 million uninsured Americans (6). Quite simply, now is the best time to act to both insure the health of our country and to secure our future growth.
References, Footnotes, and Exhibits
1. Kent, Christina. “Health Insurers Would Focus on Rights of the Noncovered.” Physician’s Weekly.Vol. XVI, No. 3. January 18, 1999.
2. “Poor, Minority Children Lack Health Insurance.” Reuters Online: http://www.incomeonline.com/content/news/NEWS/CHILDREN.html.
3. Lazarus, Wendy. “Audit of Activities and Opportunities to Extend Health Insurance Coverage to Uninsured Children.” Tides Foundation. http://www.rwjf.org/health/fulltext/o27800e.html.
4. Stenson, Jacqueline.”ACP Renews Call for Universal Health-Care Coverage.” Medical Tribune. May 23, 1996.
5. Ibid. 6. Kent.