Yesterday, the Ontario government unveiled plans to introduce a Universal Drug Plan, which they say will target anyone under the age of 25, starting on January 18th, 2017.
Wait a second...universal drug plan and only youth under 25? If something does not sound right, you are not incorrect in saying so!
So, I am going to outline in this post just exactly how someone can take something and make it UNIVERSAL! Not like God like UNIVERSAL, but universal in the sense that it follows the common doctrine of most legislation and utilizes the philosophy of helping the vast majority.
Here are 5 steps to creating something universal:
1. Understand what universal means
2. Look at your overall audience/target audience
5. Ensure program or thing is flexible
Step 1: Understand what universal meansIn order to create something universal, you have to understand what the terminology means. A simple Google search and universal can be defined as the following:
"a term or concept of general application"
As simple and direct as can be, the term universal at its root implies the application of something to generally or in other words to everyone within a certain concept.
While the government is semi-correct in its use of applying drug coverage universally to youth, as youth implies a specific group and the term is implying a general application of something to that group, it fails to truly incorporate the depth of the term.
Once you have wrapped that around your head, move on to Step 2.
Step 2: Look at your overall audience/target audience
In the case of governance and policy creation, it is very important that you understand your target audience. If you want to make something universal, you need to know who is going to be affected by it overall and who directly will be affected by it.
In the case of drug coverage, the government would look at the population of Ontario as a whole to begin. From this overall look, they would see the following three categories emerge: 0-18, 18-50, 50-100, again using a very general take.
These three categories are age groups with which to assess the direct need of medication or access to it.
From there, the next step would be to determine need based on the subject in question of becoming universal. It is important to have a strong and healthy work force, so those within the 18-50 range would get some attention, as they represent a common life span of the working adult.
However, if you look at human health in general, you will know that those in the 50-100 range on average require the most access to affordable medication. This is because the individuals in this range are usually entering retirement or already in it. They are not working and as they have aged, are more vulnerable to disease and as such require medication more often (Hopefully) than your working age group.
Finally, we have the 0-18 group, in this group you have our most vulnerable audience. They are learning and growing and as such require much assistance from the other groups. Having crucial access to necessary medication is important, mainly because when they get sick it can be very serious.
Lets move on to Step 3, shall we?
Step 3: Brainstorm Funding
Like anything present in nature or the universe, energy is required to allow something to move or operate. When it comes to government legislation, funding and political will is the energy that allows it to move forward.
For this, you need to look deeper into your 3 previous groups, which were listed for drug access. If 0-18 is your most vulnerable, since they are learning and 50-100 are your most at risk, due to age, then it is only natural to rely on 18-50 in order to garner your main support. This is where most discussion on the importance of the middle class arises, since the middle class is working and has a means to create an end, which should also mean that they do not rely on anyone too much.
Quickly, Step 4!
Step 4: Sustainability
Since energy or erm...funding is crucial to the success of your universal to be item, you need to make sure that the sources you attain it from stick around.
Let's keep using the universal drug plan. If you are currently purchasing medication at set prices from your sources and also using a Capitalist model, you know that buying in bulk is often the key to saving some major money or power.
So, if you expand your overall coverage and then bring this to the table when negotiating pricing with your sources, you not only open up more of a market for them, but also create incentive to lower prices as you now have more power with your larger base. If they do not agree, you move on to someone else until you find the desired pricing, since its your market and your responsibility to service that market with a safe and sustainable supply.
When your costs begin to lower, your operating costs begin to become more standardized, which in turn allows you to draw less from your main source, which in this example is the 18-50 category. Doing so allows this category to not only have better access to medication, which will make them stronger and work and live better, but will also allow them to have more energy and funding to contribute to your group in other ways.
Ensuring a sustainable energy source is not only the smart thing to do, its totally trendy as well, I mean our solar system, yep...sustainable energy source via the sun for like...4 billion + years now!
Step 5: Ensure program or thing is flexible
One thing about existence or life in general, is that it is always moving and never really static. Due to this, it is important for anyone seeking to create a universal thing or program to ensure that it can adapt to whatever changes may come its way.
In the case of the universal drug program, for it to be truly authentic, it would have to ensure not only multiple sustainable income sources, but also a diversified portfolio of safe providers in the event that something goes wrong with someone.
The program also has to be able to adapt to audience demands, this is where trends become important. If a trend develops in the 18-50 year old category, for example an illness that threatens death! Then something has to be done to not only address the illness with the proper medication, but also ensure that access to the medication is made available to everyone as soon as possible.
To finish up this 5 step guide to universality, I would like to just comment once again on the Ontario Liberals drug plan initiative. While it will do a lot of good in the province, it just isn't authentic to its truest form. Government is in order to not only provide leadership, but also redistribute the collected wealth of everyone living within its realm. As a result, any major initiative that aims to be universal, should be done so with the target of reach as many people as possible. The greatest good for the greatest number in society is how many political philosophers put it.
Aside from that, questions arise on the sustainability of this program as no direct action plan was released along with it, which details where the money is coming from. Lastly, it does not provide necessary coverage to one of our most vulnerable groups, seniors(50-100), people who worked hard to build this province up and in doing so allowed for the education and nourishment of many people who have replaced them in the 18-50 category.
When creating your own universal program or thing, please keep the 5 steps in mind and also remember to have common courtesy and respect to the system as a whole. A lot can change quickly and a proper balance is always important for success.
Good luck and get out there to help as many people as possible!