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First Coast Connect

8/2/2017: Chris Fey; Dan Zak; Youth Block Party

Today on “First Coast Connect,” with the Senate’s failure last week to “repeal and replace” Obamacare, we discussed what might be the future of health care reform with Big Bang Health CEO Chris Fey (01:18). Washington Post reporter Dan Zak (27:14) told us about his book on nuclear weapons, and Katrina O’Dell (41:37) told us about this week’s Youth Block Party to educate young people about HIV and AIDS. 

Chris Fey

A bipartisan group of lawmakers in Congress are coming together to try to prevent a collapse of the health insurance market. The U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions says it will hold bipartisan hearings next month on how to shore up the marketplace for individual insurance purchases — those made by single people, not employers. Meanwhile, in the House, a group of 40 lawmakers from both parties has endorsed an outline of ideas aimed at making urgent fixes to the Affordable Care Act. This is a sharp departure from President Trump, who says he wants to "let Obamacare implode." Fey spoke about problems the insurance industry is facing amid such uncertainty.

Dan Zak

In July 2012, a trio of peace activists infiltrated the Y-12 National Security Complex in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. Nicknamed the “Fort Knox of Uranium,” Y-12 was supposedly one of the most secure sites in the world, a bastion of warhead parts and hundreds of tons of highly enriched uranium, enough to power thousands of nuclear bombs. The three activists —  a house painter, a Vietnam War veteran, and an 82-year-old Catholic nun —  penetrated the complex’s exterior with alarming ease, even though their strongest tools were two pairs of bolt cutters and three hammers. Once inside, the pacifists hung protest banners, spray painted biblical messages and streaked the walls with human blood. Then they waited to be arrested. The incident inspired Zak’s “Almighty: Courage, Resistance and Existential Peril in the Nuclear Age,” which examines America’s love-hate relationship with the bomb.

Youth Block Party

Several Jacksonville agencies will be hosting the party 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. Friday at A. Philip Randolph Park to educate youth about the rising rate of AIDS on the First Coast. It will include free food and school supplies and live music. HIV testing will also be available.  

 Kevin Meerschaert can be reached at, 904-358-6334 or on Twitter at @KMeerschaertJax.

Kevin Meerschaert has left WJCT for new pursuits. He was the producer of First Coast Connect until October of 2018.