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In this week’s Friday Five, Maximus is reading about key takeaways from SCOTUS arguments on the Affordable Care Act, a call for Medicaid expansion, challenges recruiting foster parents, younger workers within the federal IT workforce, and the Veterans Administration’s digital pivot during COVID-19.

1. Supreme Court appears likely to uphold Obamacare 

Earlier this week, the Supreme Court heard arguments pertaining to the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act following removal of the individual mandate. While a decision is not expected until later this year, NPR reports that pushback from Justices during the hearing indicates the law will remain.

2. The pandemic and economic crisis are wake-up call for state Medicaid expansion

This Center for American Progress blog makes the case that Medicaid expansion is even more invaluable to states due to the health and economic concerns created by COVID. They argue that expansion reduces the number of uninsured, decreases disparities in treatment access, and protects patients from unexpected healthcare costs. 

3. Pandemic challenges US child welfare system’s ability to recruit new foster parents

Another complication of the COVID pandemic, according to NPR: Child welfare agencies are finding it difficult to recruit new foster parents, but the need has not decreased. Families struggling with finances, unemployment, or juggling a lack of childcare are reluctant to enter the foster system. In an effort to turn this trend around, agencies are working to provide additional resources for foster families. Additionally, video check-ins allow more schedule flexibility and connection. 

4. Analysts see ‘first glimmers of sustained growth’ in under-30 federal IT workforce 

The makeup of the federal IT workforce reflects heavy representation of the over-50 age bracket than workers under-30 years old. NextGov reports this could soon change as agencies have shown small and steady growth in the number of younger workers over the last two years. This bounce back follows a decrease in young workers that peaked in 2017, and experts label the trend encouraging.

5. VA report examines impact of COVID-19 innovation on veteran experience

A recent report from the Office of Information and Technology found investments in digital transformation helped the Veterans Administration adapt during COVID-19. According to MeriTalk, highlights of the report include a digital pre-screening tool, COVID chatbot, a rapid shift to both telework and telehealth appointments, and building a National Surveillance Tool.