Young people and minorities hold the fate of the Affordable Care Act

– In no uncertain terms, the fate of our nation’s healthcare system rests in the hands of young and minority citizens. If they buy health insurance from the new marketplaces created by the Affordable Care Act, then the system can work. If they don’t, the marketplace will be filled with “older, sicker people” and costs will grow astronomically.

The Post’s Wonk Blog has a must read analysis (seriously, must read) about the new law – its deadlines, partisan traps, advocacy efforts, and major structural complications (WaPo, 7/18):

It wasn’t supposed to be easy. But expanding coverage to millions of Americans wasn’t supposed to be this hard.

Even the most tuned-in health-care consultants have trouble predicting whether the federal government can get the law off the ground.

– The Post also interviewed Maria Gomez, president of Mary’s Center. Her organization received a major grant from the federal government to support outreach and enrollment efforts in our region. One of the challenges she identifies is a mentality of many residents of not wanting to be part of a public system. (WaPo, 7/12)

Related: WRAG’s Health Working Group, along with a number of partner organizations, is hosting a community forum on outreach and enrollment strategies in D.C., Maryland, and Virginia on August 15. This event is open to all funders and those working at community-based organizations and safety net clinics that serve the currently uninsured. [More information and registration]

COMMUNITY | This week, WRAG’s Health Working Group met to plan out its agenda for the next year, much of which will involve the local implementation of the ACA. Following the departure of Rachel Wick as the group’s chair, we’re excited to announce that Mindy Rubin (Kaiser Permanente) and Crystal Carr Townsend (Healthcare Initiative Foundation) will lead the working group as its new chair and vice chair, respectively. We asked both to share their thoughts on the group’s work.

From Mindy:

Although we will miss Rachel Wick more than words can say, I am thrilled to welcome Crystal Carr Townsend from the Healthcare Initiative Foundation as the new vice chair of the Health Working Group. We are excited about the great work the HWG is doing now that we have completed our annual retreat, where we continued to build trust and collaboration among local health funders.

From Crystal:

The Health Working Group is comprised of outstanding foundation leaders committed to building a healthier tomorrow for the communities which they serve. I am honored by the nomination and look forward to serving as vice chair of the group under Mindy Rubin’s leadership, an esteemed colleague and collaborative partner.

HOUSING | Here’s an intriguing setup: “Just south of Anacostia, on a hill overlooking the Suitland Parkway, lies a ghost town.”

Housing Complex gives an account of a group of 20 apartment buildings that once housed 1,000 low-income residents. They now sit empty and decaying, having been guarded by a District-funded private security firm for more than five years. (CP, 7/18)

– Metro has been racking up a lot of safety problems recently. Some of the most dangerous mistakes are as simple as running red lights. Metro’s brilliant response has included things like putting stickers on the dashboards to remind operators what a red light means. Robert McCartney has a much more sensible solution: set a standard by firing repeat offenders. (WaPo, 7/18)

– Also, the Silver Line is delayed. For how long? “[I]t’s premature to say,” according to the planners at Metro. (WaPo, 7/18)

EDUCATION | Montgomery County measuring ‘hope’ to help improve academic success in schools (WaPo, 7/18)

WORKFORCE | Major retailers are putting pressure on Mayor Gray to veto the living wage bill. The retailers say that the “legislation is unfairly discriminatory; it singles out businesses based solely on an arbitrary indoor footprint threshold, and does nothing to address the proposed goal of improving job quality and opportunity in the District.” (CP, 7/18)

The Capital Weather Gang has made an outrageous claim that has ruined my entire week (and possibly summer) . They say that there is no such thing as “heat lightning.” And they have the audacity to prove this with science. Heat lightning has always been a quintessential and innocent part of summertime. I refuse to believe that there is a more sinister explanation for the phenomenon.

Next they’ll try telling us that there isn’t any lightning in lightning bugs. Anyway, here’s a really great (and awesomely 80s) song from the under-appreciated Johnny Clegg – I Call Your Name.

Rebekah has the Daily tomorrow and Monday! Hope you all enjoy the weekend. – Christian