Posted by Nancy-Ann DeParle on January 18, 2012 at 9:26 AM EST
- 2.5 million more young adults have health insurance.
- As of October 2011, more than 2.65 million seniors got a 50 percent discount on their prescription drugs when they hit the donut hole.
- Insurance companies can no longer drop your coverage when you get sick or put a lifetime cap on the amount of care you can receive.
Of course, there is more to come in the years ahead. Starting in 2014, consumers in every state will have access to Affordable Insurance Exchanges – State-based one-stop marketplaces where consumers can choose a private health insurance plan that fits their health needs. Exchanges will offer consumers the same kinds of insurance choices that members of Congress now have. And millions of middle class families will get tax credits to make it easier to buy insurance in the Exchanges.
Under the health reform law, States have the first opportunity to set up and manage an Exchange and States are taking action. Today, we released a new report which finds 28 States have taken important steps toward establishing their own Exchanges. Some of the examples in the report include:
- Alabama Governor Robert Bentley, a physician, issued an Executive Order that created the Alabama Health Insurance Exchange Study Commission on June 2, 2011, which recommended that Alabama establish its own Exchange called the “Alabama Health Insurance Marketplace. The legislature, which meets in February, is expected to take up legislation to establish an Exchange, with legislative leaders already indicating their support.
- Colorado passed a bipartisan bill to establish the independent Colorado Health Insurance Exchange, which was signed into law on June 1, 2011. The Colorado Exchange has started public education about health reform and the Exchange at its website, www.getcoveredco.org. Organizations such as the Colorado branch of the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) and the Colorado Association of Commerce and Industry have been active participants in creating the small business component of the Exchange.
- In Nevada, unanimous, bipartisan legislation authorized the Silver State Health Insurance Exchange, which was signed into law by Governor Brian Sandoval on June 16, 2011. Its board has been appointed, executive director named, and application submitted for its next round of funding for building the Exchange.
Today’s report also outlines some of the steps the Department of Health and Human Services has taken to ensure all Americans have access to an Exchange beginning in 2014. These include developing the information technology and business systems necessary to facilitate Exchanges in multiple States. No matter where you live, on January 1, 2014, an Exchange will be up and running.
As we move forward, we’ll continue to build on our strong partnerships with State leaders nationwide and help ensure all Americans can access high quality, affordable health care and have the security they need and deserve.
Nancy-Ann DeParle is Assistant to the President and Deputy Chief of Staff
Posted by Megan Slack on January 17, 2012 at 9:26 PM ESTFirst Lady Michelle Obama reacts to a joke by President Barack Obama as the President and Mrs. Obama welcome the 2011 World Series Champion St. Louis Cardinals to the White House to honor the team and their 2011 World Series victory, in the East Room, Jan. 17, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson)
Today, the President and First Lady hosted the St. Louis Cardinals at the White House to congratulate the team on its World Series win last year.
The Cardinals, who President Obama called “the greatest comeback team in the history of baseball,” made the playoffs after rallying from a ten and a half game deficit with just 31 games left in the regular season. At one point, the team had less than a 4 percent chance of even making the playoffs.
The Series itself was an unforgettable one, the President said:
Of course, the most memorable moment was Game Six of the World Series. I’ve got to say, that has to be one of the best baseball games of all time. Unbelievable game. I will tell you guys, I had a bunch of early-morning stuff the next day, and you kept me up. It was painful waking up the next morning. But what an incredible game.
Posted by Colleen Curtis on January 16, 2012 at 4:30 PM ESTFirst Lady Michelle Obama applauds Maya Angelo during the BET Awards ceremony at Warner Theater in Washington, D.C., Jan. 14, 2012. The First Lady delivered remark honoring Angelo, who received the lifetime achievement award. (Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson)
Michelle Obama was at the BET Honors Saturday night in Washington D.C. to present the Literary Arts award to Maya Angelou, who the First Lady said was one of her “she-roes.” Angelou, who received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Obama in 2010, is as well known for her work as a civil rights activist as she is an artist, whose prolific body of work includes writing poetry, memoirs, novels and plays. She has also been a producer, actress, historian and filmmaker.
Mrs Obama, who told the audience at the historic Warner Theatre that she had been “spellbound” when reading her stories, asked the crowd to honor Angelou’s contributions by following her example:
Maya Angelou teaches us that it’s not enough merely to seek greatness for ourselves. We must help others discover the greatness within themselves. We need to reach down…and reach out…and give back…and lift up others the way Maya has lifted us.
That is how we can most truly honor our friend Maya Angelou – by how we live our lives…by striving every day to embody the wisdom, and generosity, and radiant love with which she has graced our world.
Posted by Cecilia Muñoz on January 16, 2012 at 3:40 PM EST
Monuments are built to those who change the course of history. It is right and fitting that a memorial to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. now stands in the heart of our nation’s Capital. Even as we renew our understanding of Dr. King’s legacy by visiting this beautiful monument; we can honor the legacy of Dr. King by following his example, by serving and volunteering in our communities.
Dr. King called service the “new definition of greatness.” He believed that the work we undertake on behalf of others is the most important work of all. He devoted his life to this notion – advancing equality, social justice and economic opportunity for all Americans. Dr. King challenged all of us to do our part to build a more perfect union.
That is why, for nearly two decades, the nation has marked the life of Dr. King with a national Day of Service. Today, Americans from every state will deliver meals, refurbish schools and community centers, collect food and clothing, sign up mentors, support veterans and military families, and more. Thousands of AmeriCorps and Senior Corps members will lend a hand to community-based projects. Individuals and groups, of all ages and backgrounds, will come together – as Dr. King would have wanted – in service.
Posted by Megan Slack on January 16, 2012 at 3:10 PM ESTPresident Barack Obama delivers remarks at Browne Education Campus in Washington, D.C., before participating in a Martin Luther King, Jr. Day service event with First Lady Michelle Obama and daughter Malia, Jan. 16, 2012. January 16, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
Today, President Obama, the First Lady, and Malia Obama volunteered at a local elementary school as part of a national day of service in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Dr. King, who devoted his life to helping others, once said that “everybody can be great, because everybody can serve.”
Before pitching in to help clean, paint, and organize the school’s library, the President spoke to other volunteers from Big Brothers, Big Sisters and Greater DC Cares gathered for the event:
There’s nobody who can’t serve. Nobody who can’t help somebody else. And whether you’re seven or six or whether you’re 76, then you can find opportunities to make an enormous difference in your community.
The Vice President and Dr. Jill Biden also joined the millions of Americans participating in service events around the country. They traveled to Philadelphia to take part in the 17th annual Greater Philadelphia Martin Luther King Day of Service, the largest Martin Luther King Jr. Day event in the nation.Vice President Joe Biden and Dr. Jill Biden attend the 17th Annual Martin Luther King Day of Service at Girard College in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, January 16, 2012. January 16, 2012. (Official White House Photo by David Lienemann)Read more about how the Obama Administration is honoring Dr. King’s legacy through service:
- On Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, Honoring “Drum Majors for Service,” by Joshua DuBois, Executive Director of the White House Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships
- Honoring Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Through Service, by Cecilia Muñoz, Director of the White House Domestic Policy Council
Posted by Joshua DuBois on January 16, 2012 at 2:29 PM EST
Each day in cities and towns across our country, countless Americans are living out Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s legacy through their service to others. In his famous speech on The Drum Major Instinct, Dr. King said that it isn’t “a desire to be out front, a desire to lead the parade, a desire to be first” that should define greatness, but rather, “everybody can be great…because everybody can serve.”
On this Martin Luther King, Jr. Day and throughout the year, we are proud that the Obama Administration’s Corporation for National and Community Service in conjunction with TheRoot.com will be highlighting “Drum Majors for Service,” volunteers who perform extraordinary everyday acts of service, but who seldom receive recognition. This is an exciting new way to honor those who are living out Dr. King’s legacy each day of their lives.
Today, TheRoot.com is highlighting 88 year-old retired Chicago transit worker and ex-Marine Theodore Peters, a true Drum Major for Service. Check it out here, and keep checking back for more stories of Drum Majors for Service.
Joshua DuBois serves as Special Assistant to the President and Executive Director of the White House Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships.
Posted by Colleen Curtis on January 16, 2012 at 9:00 AM ESTMartin Luther King, Jr. leaves the West Wing after meeting with President Johnson. August 5, 1968. Abbie Rowe, NPS: National Archive and Records Administration. (by Abbie Rowe, NPS: National Archive and Records Administration)President Lyndon B. Johnson meets with Civil Rights leaders Martin Luther King, Jr., Whitney Young, and James Farmer in the Oval Office. January 18, 1964. . (by Lyndon Baines Johnson Presidential Library)
To mark Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, the White House Historical Association has searched their archives and created a slideshow of historic images that show the impact the civil rights leader has had on several administrations. Dr King’s interactions with Presidents Kennedy and Johnson leading up to the Civil Rights Act in 1964, the Voting Rights Act in 1965 and the 1968 Civil Rights Act are well documented, but his first visit to the White House was actually in 1958, when he and other prominent civil rights leaders met with President Dwight Eisenhower. Celebrating Martin Luther King, Jr’s Life and Legacy features images of Dr. King himself at the White House and also includes photos of President Reagan signing the King Holiday Bill in 1983 with Coretta Scott King at his side, and President Obama and his family at the national memorial that was dedicated just last year.
Posted by Matt Compton on January 16, 2012 at 8:00 AM ESTPresident Barack Obama tours the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial in Washington, D.C., Oct. 14, 2011. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
It’s been 29 years since President Reagan signed the law to create a national holiday in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr.
This year for the first time, however, those who wish to honor Dr. King on the holiday will be able gather in celebration at his memorial on the National Mall in Washington, DC.
Seven years ago, then-Senator Obama spoke at the groundbreaking for the memorial.
And back in October, the President spoke at its dedication, where he described the way that Dr. King continues to inspire new generations to work to fulfill his legacy:
He would not give up, no matter how long it took, because in the smallest hamlets and the darkest slums, he had witnessed the highest reaches of the human spirit; because in those moments when the struggle seemed most hopeless, he had seen men and women and children conquer their fear; because he had seen hills and mountains made low and rough places made plain, and the crooked places made straight and God make a way out of no way.
And that is why we honor this man –- because he had faith in us. And that is why he belongs on this Mall -– because he saw what we might become. That is why Dr. King was so quintessentially American — because for all the hardships we’ve endured, for all our sometimes tragic history, ours is a story of optimism and achievement and constant striving that is unique upon this Earth. And that is why the rest of the world still looks to us to lead. This is a country where ordinary people find in their hearts the courage to do extraordinary things; the courage to stand up in the face of the fiercest resistance and despair and say this is wrong, and this is right; we will not settle for what the cynics tell us we have to accept and we will reach again and again, no matter the odds, for what we know is possible.
Watch the video of President Obama’s remarks:
Posted by Macon Phillips on January 14, 2012 at 8:09 AM EST
The White House has responded to two petitions about legislative approaches to combat online piracy. In their response, Victoria Espinel, Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator at Office of Management and Budget, Aneesh Chopra, U.S. Chief Technology Officer, and Howard Schmidt, Special Assistant to the President and Cybersecurity Coordinator for National Security Staff stress that the important task of protecting intellectual property online must not threaten an open and innovative internet.By Victoria Espinel, Aneesh Chopra, and Howard SchmidtThanks for taking the time to sign this petition. Both your words and actions illustrate the importance of maintaining an open and democratic Internet.Right now, Congress is debating a few pieces of legislation concerning the very real issue of online piracy, including the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), the PROTECT IP Act, and the Online Protection and Digital ENforcement Act (OPEN). We want to take this opportunity to tell you what the Administration will support—and what we will not support. Any effective legislation should reflect a wide range of stakeholders, including everyone from content creators to the engineers that build and maintain the infrastructure of the Internet.While we believe that online piracy by foreign websites is a serious problem that requires a serious legislative response, we will not support legislation that reduces freedom of expression, increases cybersecurity risk, or undermines the dynamic, innovative global Internet.Any effort to combat online piracy must guard against the risk of online censorship of lawful activity and must not inhibit innovation by our dynamic businesses large and small. Across the globe, the openness of the Internet is increasingly central to innovation in business, government, and society and it must be protected. To minimize this risk, new legislation must be narrowly targeted only at sites beyond the reach of current U.S. law, cover activity clearly prohibited under existing U.S. laws, and be effectively tailored, with strong due process and focused on criminal activity. Any provision covering Internet intermediaries such as online advertising networks, payment processors, or search engines must be transparent and designed to prevent overly broad private rights of action that could encourage unjustified litigation that could discourage startup businesses and innovative firms from growing.