Health Policy Memo:
Directions:
Construct a concise,
well-argued memorandum to the policy decision-maker of your choice about a
current, specific health policy issue. The memo should be no more than 1,000 words (about two pages single-spaced, not
counting any annex), and must use the following structure:
1. BLUF Statement or “Bottom
Line Up Front”
·
States
the problem in terms specific to the goal of the
decision-maker. Directly addresses the decision-maker’s needs in the opening
lines.
·
Tells
the decision-maker why a policy change is (or is not) needed.
·
Briefly
details the problem. Be careful to focus on the problem, not the background.
2.
Explanation of the pros and cons leading up to your recommendations
·
Review
the Current Policy – What is it and why is it done this way? Assess briefly how
well it is or is not working.
·
Statement
on the Necessity for Change – What new circumstances have called the status quo
into question?
·
Discuss
the alternatives to the current policy by enumerating and explaining each policy
option in turn.
·
Explain
the pros and cons of each policy option. You may select pros and cons through
the lens of such core features as (1) political feasibility, (2) economic
feasibility/cost effectiveness, (3) administrative feasibility, (4) equity,
and/or (5) other rationales such as security or environmental consequences.
·
Compare
or contrast the key options (including the current policy or status quo). This
is the most important part of the memo because it establishes the rational
authority and credibility for the recommendations that follow.
3. Explanation of the
Recommendations
·
Identify
which option will be recommended and which options will be discounted.
·
Lay
out the argument for why that option is better than each of the others.
4. Implementation or Next Steps
·
Briefly identify how and when to implement
your recommendation. If there are significant risks, costs, or obstacles
associated with implementation, you should discuss them in the earlier section
that describes the pros and cons of the policy options. This section should be
dedicated to the mechanics of implementation.
5. Conclusion
·
Return
to the big picture: What is the goal of your policy recommendation? What will
happen if the decision-maker implements the recommendation? What will happen if
she/he does not? (Remember voters if the decision-maker is an elected
official.) This is your opportunity to remind your reader of the urgency of
your recommendation.
6. Annex
·
You
may optionally attach one chart, graph, or table.

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