Social programs stem from one of two sources: Public funding or private charity. If economic health suffers, then tax revenue suffers and so do charitable contributions. To kill economic health for the sake of stronger social programs is to kill the golden goose that lays the egg. A nation that prioritizes economic health will have strong social programs.
Social programs cost money and money comes from tax revenue. It is for this reason that a healthy economy is more important than its social programs. I mean important in the sense of being more essential, as in, you can't have the latter without the former. You can be sure that weaker economies have less ambitious social programs.
I definitely think that a country's economic health is more important than its social programs. Without a strong economy, every program is put at risk, including social programs. So what would be the point of placing importance on a social program if there isn't a strong economy to back it up.
I believe that the basic fundamentals of a country needs to be centered around it's economic health, the social programs are a secondary concern and are more easily dealt with when the economy is strong, I believe it would be a mistake for a Government to focus on social programs instead of a weak economy.