Government is a key part of any society and culture. Learn more about different types of government, politics and civic issues.

In tough economic times, you might be tempted to classify health insurance as a luxury -- and decide to get rid of the expense. But health insurance is one thing that should remain in your budget no matter how bad things get. How can you find the right plan?

Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Captain America -- the most famous superheroes are often depicted as young men or women. But the U.S. government needs you, senior citizens. You're being called up to the front lines in the battle against Medicare fraud.

Shopping for shoes, books and private yachts is fun; shopping for health insurance is not. But don't despair. The good news is that it's getting much, much easier -- and putting in the work of buying insurance is far preferable to dealing with sky-high medical bills.

An ounce of prevention may be worth a pound of cure, but Americans seem to forget that when it comes to health care. Most of us just wait to see the doctor when we're already sick. Could changes to preventive services coverage convince more of us to go?

When you make a large purchase, such as a car, you do a little comparison shopping, looking at different features and prices until you find the perfect fit. You can't do that with the health insurance market. At least, not until now.

On June 27 of each year, local, state and national organizations observe National HIV Testing Day: a day to promote HIV testing and dispel the stigma surrounding HIV. Who should take the opportunity to get tested this year?

Spring is graduation season, a time for flinging mortarboards to the sky and framing those hard-earned diplomas. But it's also a time for young people to goodbye to their parents' health insurance. Until now, that is.

U.S. health care reform didn't happen without a firestorm of controversy. With all the hubbub surrounding the bill, the actual contents of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act are still a mystery to many -- maybe even you.

Each state has its own head of the executive branch of government -- the state governor. But what does a state governor actually do, and how does he or she shape the lives of citizens within his or her state?

If the governor passes away or resigns, the lieutenant governor takes over the position. But outside acting as a stand-in for such an event, what does the lieutenant governor do?

The attorney general of United States is our country's legal counsel. He or she advises the president and the heads of executive departments. What else does this person do?

People know who the U.S. secretary of state is and probably something about what he or she does. But did you know states have them, too? How is their role in local government different?

Despite some confusion about its spelling, the required duties of a state comptroller are quite clear: These money managers oversee state budgets, pay state employees, manage pensions and more.

In the U.S., the state treasurer acts as the state's chief banker and money manager. Some treasurers, however, use the office as a stepping stone to bigger and better things.

The U.S. government -- and every state in the Union -- takes in billions of dollars in tax money every year. When you have that kind of money coming in, it's easy to act recklessly. Luckily, auditors general track all these funds and make sure they're spent responsibly.

Would you like to know how much your house is worth? Do you want to make sure that new shed will add value to your home before you build it? County assessors help property owners in a given county determine its value -- and, in turn, the county's property tax rate.

If you've ever gotten married, had a child or really, ever been born, your vital records have made their way over to the county clerk's office. Could you work as a county clerk and maintain all that paperwork?

You've probably seen countless legal series on television that depict large teams of attorneys representing the state. But who's the big shot in charge of those lawyers? The State's Attorney, that's who.

Forty-eight out of 50 states have operational county governments, and the person who manages those is the county board president. Elected by fellow citizens or appointed by board members, the president impacts local and national politics.

The county commission is the oldest form of government in the U.S. and is still common in many regions of the country. What tasks does a board of commissioners usually oversee?

Even a mayor whose job is mostly symbolic can have a lot of pull when it comes to running a city. Where does a mayor's power come from -- and does it go all the way up to the national level?

In a big city, it would be almost impossible to make decisions and solve problems by letting the entire population vote on every issue. One solution: the city council.

In local government, officials elected to represent districts may be called aldermen, a very old term that dates back to the Anglo-Saxon days. What exactly is an alderman?

If you've ever butted heads with your insurance company to get a surgery covered, you understand why the U.S. is pursuing health care reform. But if you're happy with your coverage, you might wonder why the government is trying to change it.

In the arguments about U.S. health care reform, you'll often hear a country held up as the worst or best example of what health care can be. What is health care like around the globe?