As health exchanges prepare to open, Americans remain confused

Our thoughts are with the victims and families of the Navy Yard shootings, and with the emergency personnel responding to the scene. For the latest updates on the situation, check the Washington Post’s blog.

HEALTH | We’re two weeks away from the opening of the health care exchanges mandated by the Affordable Care Act. But new polling data from USA Today/Pew suggest that Americans are still confused and misinformed about what the ACA means for them (USA Today, 9/16):

Among the 19% polled who are uninsured, nearly four in 10 don’t realize the law requires them to get health insurance next year. Among young people, whose participation is seen as crucial for the exchanges to work, just 56% realize there’s a mandate to be insured or face a fine.

The silver(ish) lining is that 64 percent of the total individuals polled say they understand the law either “very well” or “somewhat well.” The poll also finds that public opinion about the law – which the Obama administration expected to have improved by now – has actually gotten worse.

BIG DATA | We all know about the great work done by the Latin American Youth Center. Today, Capital Business pulls back the curtain and shows how embracing big data has helped make the nonprofit even more successful.

It’s also important to note that LAYC spent more than $1 million over seven years, evidently from a grant, to manage all of the data. That kind of spending puts big data crunching firmly out of the realm of possibility for most nonprofits. (WaPo, 9/16)

FOOD | Charities Decry Food Aid Cuts Pushed by House Republicans (Bloomberg, 9/13)

COMMUNITY | The Washington AIDS Partnership’s AmeriCorps team is made up of 12 members serving 10 local HIV/AIDS service providers in D.C. Over the course of the next year, they’ll be chronicling their work on their blog. Check it out here.

DISTRICT | A D.C. Council panel has recommended that Marion Barry be censured for accepting illegal donations from city contractors. The full council will vote on the punishment tomorrow. Barry hasn’t been censured since 2010, when he directed city contracts to a friend. (WaPo, 9/16)

TRANSIT | As plans for the Purple Line move forward, residents along its proposed route are concerned that their quality of life will be severely diminished – particularly by electrical substations that would be planted in neighborhoods. (WaPo, 9/14)

Well, the week is off to a terrible start. While we search for answers about the Navy Yard shootings, here’s a way to divert your attention for a bit – 10 tricks for a healthier, high-energy work day. Apologies for the implied profanity at the end. Maybe the asterisks are for different letters than they seem to be!