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Politics of Health Care in the U.S.: Sources of information

Sources of data, research and opinion on health care proposals and international comparative data.

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Sources of information

Health care is one of the major issues in United States politics right now and there are often rapid changes in the proposals for legislation.

The Kaiser Family Foundation  "is a non-profit, private operating foundation focusing on the major health care issues facing the U.S., as well as the U.S. role in global health policy."  This is an excellent source of news, statistics and analysis on health care in the U.S.

Magazines, newspapers, and blogs are useful for finding current events, reading about them from interesting, engaging writers and seeing what research is getting attention. For instance, a 2009 column by Monica Yant Kinney in the Philadelphia Inquirer on a college student demonstration for health care in Philadelphia nicely captures the complexities and importance of the issue at the national,regional and personal levels.

Academic research takes time to write and publish, but often provides you with much data and analysis on very focused topics when it is eventually published in scholarly journals. For example, Health Lifestyles in the United States and Canada: Are We Really So Different? appearing in Social Sciences Quarterly Volume 90 Issue 5 (December 2009), a special issue on Health Policy and Healthy Populations.

Politics and lawmaking are one of the main staples of newspapers and news magazines. Most news sites now maintain a section specifically on the health care debates (the one at the New York Times, for example, and Slate Magazine.)  Reports and analysis in these differ significantly from the theoretical perspectives of academic journals. 

It is always a good idea to get a good grounding on events before tackling academic research on a topic-- and to get a good grounding in academic research to assess news reports!

Let's start with sources of published articles for general audiences for finding topics.

There are a number of databases that cover newspapers.  Two in particular:

Access World News  has major newspapers from the U.S. and around the world. It also has the local papers such as the  Philadelphia Inquirer and the Philadelphia Daily News

LexisNexis Academic also has major papers from around the world as well as many other sources, such as magazines and transcripts. 

You might also try browsing for the topic "health care and politics" for citations to magazines and newspapers.  In most cases, this will lead to a quote by an academic researcher that the reporter has contacted to get an expert view.  The name of the researcher in the article now gives you the name of a researcher to search for in databases that cover academic journals. 

A search on the phrase health care and politics in the database Academic Search Premier gives results for academic journals, magazines, and newspapers, each of which you can select to narrow to that format from a box on the left side of the page.  Again, magazines and newspapers are usually the most readable, whereas academic journals provide the most detail.

CQ Researcher Online is a publication that does excellent balanced reports on all kinds of topics particularly of interest to policymaking-- with lots of help in suggesting other sources.  It's both a good source for looking for ideas and looking to see if they have covered a topic you have in mind.  





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