President Franklin Roosevelt, in his 1944 State of the Union address, spoke eloquently of the “right to adequate medical care and the opportunity to achieve and enjoy good health” as one of the keys to ensuring Americans’ security and economic independence. It wasn’t until 2010 that the Affordable Care Act overhauled and expanded health care coverage for Americans.
The Kaiser Family Foundation, a research-based health care philanthropy, describes its mission as “to inform discussion and debate on major issues that affect millions of people, especially the most vulnerable and disadvantaged, and to elevate the national level of debate on health issues.”
CMS, an agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, primarily administers Medicare and works in partnership with the states to administer Medicaid, the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) and other programs.
The Census Bureau’s website offers far more than its up-to-the-second clocks with estimates of the U.S. and world populations. There is, of course, a general summary of the most recent census. A link from the home page brings up the American FactFinder, which allows the user to retrieve complete census breakdowns of the U.S. population by age, race, home ownership status and many other categories within cities, counties, states or even ZIP codes.
Brookings is the oldest and one of the best-known of the Washington-based think tanks, tracing its origins back to 1916 and founder Robert Somers Brookings, a wealthy St. Louis businessman. Its scholars generally have very strong academic credentials.Reports from the institution and its scholars can be viewed by research programs, policy centers and research projects. They fall mainly into the categories of competitiveness, education, migration, health care or energy security.
According to its website, FactCheck.org is a “nonpartisan, nonprofit ‘consumer advocate’ for voters that aims to reduce the level of deception and confusion in U.S. politics.” Its staff monitors factual accuracy in American politics, looking at what’s being said in TV ads, debates, speeches, interviews and the like.
The Library of Congress houses the Congressional Research Service, “the public policy research arm of the United States Congress.” The CRS performs independent, nonpartisan and objective research for members of Congress and their staffs on a nearly endless array of issues. The Librarian of Congress appoints the director of the service, which has a large, knowledgeable staff and receives a sizable budget.
USA.gov calls itself “the official U.S. gateway to all government information.” The U.S. General Services Administration’s Office of Citizen Services and Communications oversees the website, which offers a library of links to government agencies, information about particular laws and regulations, and data and statistics.
Public Citizen is a consumer advocacy group that was founded in 1971 by Ralph Nader, a liberal activist and later a Green Party presidential candidate. The group says it works for “openness and democratic accountability in government, for the right of consumers to seek redress in the courts; for clean, safe and sustainable energy sources; for social and economic justice in trade policies; for strong health, safety and environmental protections; and for safe, effective and affordable prescription drugs and health care.”
A bipartisan organization for state, commonwealth and territorial legislators and their staffs, the National Conference of State Legislatures “provides research, technical assistance and opportunities for policymakers to exchange ideas on the most pressing state issues.” The organization advocates the interests of state governments.