Civic Engagement and Public Policy

This Competency Assessment assesses the following outcomes:

SS238-1: Identify how different factors shape public policy.

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GEL-1.02: Demonstrate college-level communication through the composition of original materials in Standard English.

Many different factors shape public policy. Public policy is often a complex interplay between many factors: government(s), citizens, and outside interests.

An example of how different factors shaped public policy is Medicaid, a government program that provides health insurance to low income and disabled people. The passing of Medicaid legislation was due to civic engagement, public opinion, social and economic rationales, and government involvement.

In 1962, Michael Harrington, a political activist and author, published the best-selling book, The Other America: Poverty in the United States. Harrington argued that in contrast to the growth of the middle class during the late 50s and early 60s there were still many Americans living in abject poverty. Harrington lamented how “…the poor are invisible,” and subject to a “poverty of culture.” Thus, it was the job of society to “help them before they can help themselves.” (Isserman, 2015)

Harrington’s book ignited a mostly compassionate response from Americans. President Johnson, who was humbly raised in south Texas was already deeply sympathetic to the plight of the poor. With public opinion on his side, President Johnson exerted Congress to pass a comprehensive set of legislation, coined, the Good Society. The very focus on this “Second New Deal” was a war on poverty. Part and parcel of this legislation was Medicare and Medicaid.

On July 30, 1965 President Lyndon Johnson signed the Social Security Amendment of 1965 into law. Provisions of this law included Medicaid and Medicare. Unlike Medicare that provides health insurance to people age 65 and over, Medicaid provides health insurance to low income and disabled people. Medicaid is jointly funded by the federal and individual state governments. Although each state must follow certain, mandatory guidelines, states are able to individually determine eligibility, services, and payments. As a result, Medicaid coverage varies from state to state.

Medicaid saw a dramatic increase in coverage when Congress passed the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Obamacare). This law greatly expanded those eligible for coverage and the federal government pledged to almost entirely fund expanded coverage. However, due to the Supreme Court Case, NFIB v. Serbelius, states now have a choice in the matter. Each state can reject this, expanded coverage and keep their state’s Medicaid program at the previous parameters. As a result of federal and state, health care policies, 32 states expanded coverage and 18 states declined the expanded coverage. This is important because today one out of five Americans receive some sort of Medicaid coverage.

Directions: Within a 400 word, APA formatted expository essay, please include:

Title page
An introduction.
Select a specific example of public policy from one of the following fields:
Economic policy
An example of economic policy is U.S. budget deficit spending.
Education policy
An example of education policy are the implementation of charter schools.
Environmental policy
An example of environmental policy is the Clean Air Act.
Foreign policy
An example of foreign policy is the interplay between civil liberties and the Patriot Act.
Healthcare policy
An example of healthcare policy is the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare)
Welfare policy
An example of welfare policy is Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF).
Provide a summary of this public policy.
Explain how three different factors shaped this public policy.
How do political factors shape this public policy?
Support your responses with at least one specific referenced example.
How do social factors shape this public policy?
Support your responses with at least one specific referenced example.
How do economic factors shape this public policy?
Support your responses with at least one specific referenced example.
Support your examples with information from the text and at least two, additional academic sources.
Your viewpoint and purpose should be clearly established and sustained.
A conclusion.
Reference page.
APA format.
Title page.
Reference page.
APA citations.
Double spaced sentences.
12 point Times New Roman.
Standard English grammar.
Correct punctuation and spelling.
Logical, well ordered sentences.

The APA formatted assignment should be at least 400 words and must use and cite the text and primary documents as sources. Cite the work internally and in full reference at the end, following APA style guidelines. Citation is important to build the definitions, demonstrate your research, and to make it clear which ideas are yours and which are from the source. Check with the Writing Center for APA style tips and assistance.


Isserman, M., & Kazin, M. (2015). America divided: The Civil War of the 1960s. New York: Oxford University Press.

Program History. (n.d.). Retrieved from

Minimum Submission Requirements

This assessment should be a minimum of 400 words of text.
Introductory paragraph
APA formatting (including in-text citations and a separate Reference Page following the narrative)
Three sources (including the class text and two additional outside sources)

If work submitted for this competency assessment does not meet the minimum submission requirements, it will be returned without being scored.


Plagiarism is an act of academic dishonesty. It violates the University Honor Code, and the offense is subject to disciplinary action. You are expected to be the sole author of your work. Use of another person’s work or ideas must be accompanied by specific citations and references. Whether the action is intentional or not, it still constitutes plagiarism.

For more information on University’s Plagiarism policy, refer to the current University Catalog.

All competency criteria must be met to earn a B grade and pass this Course Outcome.

A predefined number of mastery criteria must be met to earn an A grade, indicating mastery of the Course Outcome. See the CLA and Grade Criteria Chart below.

*If work submitted for this Competency Assessment does not meet the minimum submission requirements, it will be returned without being scored.

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