This guide is intended to support the students and staff of the Center for Health Law & Policy Innovation at Harvard Law School as they research and report on health care reform initiatives at both state and federal levels. This guide will help you to:
You may find additional information, including more substantive legal research strategy and a broader range of sources in these additional guides:
There are many tools available for tracking health care reform proposals, especially at the Federal level. In most cases you can set up individual alerts for areas of interest or specific search terms.
It prepares issue pages for major policy areas with news updates, calendar function, whiteboard updates, charts and graphs, glossaries, and other useful information all in easy to navigate practice centers. PoliticoPro content relies on policy experts in the field, writing in real time. The site also stores all primary source documents in a "document drawer" for easy access.
LegiStorm offers current awareness tools to help you stay informed. They are all listed under the "News and Reports" tab. The In The News section curates news from Capitol Hill. The StormFeed function provides updates from press releases, twitter accounts from members of congress, and relevant trending hashtags. If you would like to get regular alerts for a search please request a personal account, which will enable you to set up alerts, contact the librarians at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government.
Cheetah provides access to Wolters Kluwer business and finance, health and medical, and federal, state and international tax law publications and products. The Health Care library includes several Daily Documents and Newsletters, as well as CMS manuals and guidance, and State Health Care information.
The regulatory process can be complex and difficult to follow, especially in the field of health care where multiple agencies can be involved in promulgating regulations. This visual overview can be helpful, but may be overwhelming for those unfamiliar with regulatory affairs:
As a general rule, it is easier start with a particular regulation by number or agency by name before diving in to search by topics or keywords. Secondary sources such as current awareness/news sources, scholarly articles, or advocacy communications are extremely helpful in getting started.
There are multiple websites, all published by different departments within the U.S. Government, where you can find information about proposed regulations and track them through the regulatory process.
FederalRegister.gov contains documents published by federal agencies, including proposed rules, final rules, public notices, and Presidential actions. This unofficial format provides access to the same material printed in the print version of the Federal Register with related material from the Code of Federal Regulations and the US Code.
By setting up an account, you can subscribe to the results of any search, to public inspection documents, via any agency page, and on many other pages of FederalRegister.gov. Look for the envelope icon with the words 'Subscribe' (on the right hand side of many pages) to get started.
Regulations.gov allows users to search regulatory materials, submit comments, and sign up for email alerts. While some agencies require that comments be submitted through their own individual platforms, regulations.gov serves as a clearinghouse for the majority of publicly available public comment material.
Reginfo.gov is produced by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and the General Services Administration (GSA). OMB's Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) is responsible for reviewing Federal regulations and information collections. The site provides information about regulations under development to enable public participation.
While much of the legislative process is exposed through current awareness tools like Politico and LegiStorm, it is important to connect back to official legislative sources when conducting research. ProQuest Congressional is a great source for legislative material including committee materials (hearings, prints, reports), Congressional Research Service publications, House and Senate publications, legislative materials, and news from Congressional Quarterly.
In many cases, the best place to look for information about legislation that has already passed is to consult a compiled legislative history. There are many sources of legislative histories - you can visit this guide for more information - but in many cases you can turn from ProQuest Congressional right into ProQuest Legislative Insight. For either platform it is best to search by number to take you directly into the primary source.
Community Catalyst is a non-profit dedicated to consumer health advocacy, working in 40 states across the country. Their Dual Agenda Newsletter includes state highlights on health care reform, and their ACA Implementation Fund has partnered with state-based advocacy groups to tackle issues related to the implementation of health care reform at the state level, including the impact of potential repeal. Their Health Policy Hub Blog allows for email subscription as well. The latest posts from their feed are included below: