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Caring for Our OwnWhy There is No Political Demand for New American Social Welfare Rights$
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Sandra R. Levitsky

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780199993123

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: June 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199993123.001.0001

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Communicating Grievances—Policy Feedback and the Deserving Citizen

Communicating Grievances—Policy Feedback and the Deserving Citizen

Chapter:
(p.119) Chapter 5 Communicating Grievances—Policy Feedback and the Deserving Citizen
Source:
Caring for Our Own
Author(s):

Sandra R. Levitsky

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199993123.003.0005

This chapter considers the role of entitlement or “deservingness” in politicization. For constituents to participate in political demand making they must first believe they are entitled to something better. Theories of policy feedback predict that the experience of seeking assistance for long-term care from Medicaid (a stigmatized “welfare” program and the only source of state assistance for long-term care) may actually diminish caregivers’ sense of themselves as deserving citizens and thus impede organized demand making. This chapter suggests another possibility: Rather than viewing themselves as inferior or stigmatized for seeking assistance from a “welfare” program, most non-poor Medicaid applicants extend the lessons learned from “top tier” social insurance programs like Social Security to the context of contemporary long-term care. Thus instead of being diminished by their experiences with Medicaid, non-poor caregivers in this study recast Medicaid as a middle-class entitlement owed by the state to “deserving” citizens like themselves.

Keywords:   Medicaid, Social Security, social insurance, stigma, entitlement, deserving, caregivers, politicization, policy feedback

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