- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Capital health care reform

As politicians and citizens across the nation debate health care reform, data released last week by the U.S. Census Burueau has some good news about the uninsured and the underinsured in the District, says Ed Lazere of the D.C. Fiscal Policy Institute.

“The share of residents without insurance stood at 9.8 percent in 2007-2008, a significant decline from 12.9 percent in 2000-2001. When compared with states, DC is in the top fifth in its insurance coverage rate. (Massachusetts has the lowest uninsured rate, at 5.4 percent.)” Mr. Lazere says in a column at dcpfi.org.

“The reduction in uninsured DC residents reflects greater access to government health insurance programs. Some 22 percent of DC residents had public health coverage in 2007-2008, up from 17 percent in 2000-2001. (The share of residents with employer-provided health insurance was basically the same in the two periods.) The increase in public health insurance receipt in DC likely reflects the creation of the DC HealthCare Alliance in 2001, which provides coverage to uninsured residents below 200 percent of poverty who are not eligible for other public programs. Roughly 40,000 DC residents will be served by the Alliance in 2010. The Alliance complements the Districts Medicaid program, which primarily serves low-income families with children and residents who are either elderly or disabled.”


National parks and leisurely pursuits

D.C., federal and business leaders are at the drawing board for Downtown Washington. They are considering public-private partnerships to make downtown more family friendly especially when it comes to parks.

Residents want more amentities to keep families in the city, not just appease the [Note] pursits [/NOTE] pursuits of empty nesters and singles, members of the Downtown Neighborhood Association say.

The Downtown Business Improvement District (BID) has collected data on 34 National Park Service sites, and it said major studies have called for park improvements.

Planners and residents need to be mindful of three things, said Rick Reinhard, BID’s deputy executive director of planning and development: funding; the fact that park service officials focus on the National Mall not downtown; and regulations appropriate for grand national parks, like Yellowstone Park, not necessarily urban areas.

Visit www.capitalspace.gov and planning.dc.gov for details on upcoming meetings where recommendations will be discussed.