The Impact of Obamacare, in Four Maps

 .. Over all, the gains are substantial: a seven-percentage-point drop in the uninsured rate for adults. But there remain troublesome regional patterns. Many people in the South and the Southwest still don’t have a reliable way to pay for health care, according to the new, detailed numbers from a pair of groups closely tracking enrollment efforts. Those patterns aren’t an accident. As our maps show, many of the places with high uninsured rates had poor coverage before the Affordable Care Act passed. They tend to be states with widespread poverty and limited social safety nets. Look at Mississippi and Texas, for example.

.. West Virginia started near the bottom of the pack in 2013. It had high rates of uninsurance and poverty, and ranked low on measures of public health. But state officials, health care providers and local advocacy groups embraced the Affordable Care Act wholeheartedly — and avoided the word Obamacare. The state didn’t just expand Medicaid, but also took extra efforts to identify residents who were likely to be eligible for new insurance, sought them out, and made it easier for them to sign up

.. In areas with large populations of Native Americans, the uninsured rate does not fully capture the population’s access to health care, since tribal members often get care from the Indian Health Service instead of traditional health insurance.

The App That Wants to Simplify Postal Addresses

A British startup is assigning a unique name to every meter of Earth’s surface. Should addressing systems be universalized—and privatized?

.. Its address doesn’t just tell [you] where it is, but also what road to take to get to the front gate

.. What3Words envisions a universal addressing system, functional in any language, that refers to locations more precisely than street addresses can.

.. its leaders split Earth’s complete land and ocean surface area to 57 trillion three-by-three meter squares. Every individual grid square has a distinctive name, expressed as three words

.. there is no free or open database of how every What3Words address lines up with a GPS coordinate. In fact, charging for access to that database is exactly how the startup What3Words makes money.

.. Mongolia is the least densely populated sovereign nation on the planet.

.. “There’s really no addresses at all for most of the country,” Sheldrick told me.

.. What3Words will provide a national addressing system for Mongolia

.. In the early 2000s, the federal government and other organizations began using these IDs, called DUNS numbers, to organize companies that wanted to bid for contracts.

.. The U.S. government has paid Dun & Bradstreet millions to use the DUNS system.

 .. At first, mail was addressed to rural customers only by their name, city, and state. Local postmasters memorized the rest.

.. “It’s only within the last decade that every house has a street address,” says Nancy Pope, a historian at the Smithsonian National Postal Museum. “You end up with these street addresses that are in the tens of thousands, because they’re on a rural road tens of miles from the nearest town.”

.. What3Words addresses are designed to fail catastrophically, and therefore noticeably, Sheldrick told me. A single misplaced letter will never send a package 10 miles in the wrong direction, as a reversed digit in a latitude-longitude coordinate might. Instead, it will send it to another continent.

.. Once inside the ecosystem, its ownership could start extracting rents.

 .. But it doesn’t matter if users personally trust Sheldrick or the What3Words team. Intellectual property rights can easily change hands, and they always outlive their owners and their owners’ good intentions.


This means, for example, that a town is barred by law from releasing a dataset describing when garbage will get picked up where.

The British government is now spending £5 million to rebuild an open version of the exact same postcode registry that it sold off three years ago.