Philosophical traditions impact on social policy: Comparing Poland and the United States

Author: Vincent Chesney
Institution: Marywood University
Year of publication: 2015
Source: Show
Pages: 48-58
DOI Address:
PDF: cip/13/cip1304.pdf

Philosophical traditions impact on social policy: Comparing Poland and the United States

Healthcare policies for people with developmental disabilities (PWDD) in both the United States of America and the Republic of Poland have evolved from socially conservative to liberal philosophies. One area that illustrates this process is the rise and fall of institutionalization. During the 18th and 19th Centuries, American families with PWDD were encouraged to relinquish the identified family member to state-run institutions, as early as diagnoses were made, in order to reduce burdens on the family and society. The charity model as understood in Judeo-Christian tradition in which sacrifice was emphasized and Greco-Roman tradition which advocated for more intelligent men to rule over others for the greater good of all will be explored. Industrialization, World War II (WWII) and the American Civil Rights Movement of the 20th Century all prompted new policies toward care for PWDD. Since the Civil Rights Movement, census numbers at state-run institutions for PWDD have been declining regularly. This movement finds validation in the liberalism of modern American philosophers. Poland has followed a similar path in a general, yet truncated way. As a Soviet satellite following WWII, Poland was compelled to adopt Soviet Union traditions toward PWDD. After the fall of the Soviet Union in 1989, Poland established policies enshrined in American and European law, such as person-centered care for PWDD. Both countries have dedicated national funds for supporting PWDD, such as America’s Medicaid and Poland’s National Disability Fund. As Poland and the United States continue to integrate services into more inclusive societies, national healthcare initiatives remain viable based on comparative studies. Quality of life indicators are offered in support of this deinstitutionalized, person-centered model.


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