Posted by Megan Slack on February 15, 2012 at 6:30 PM EST
In 2011, the Affordable Care Act provided approximately 54 million Americans with at least one new free preventive service through their private health insurance plans, and an estimated 32.5 million people with Medicare received at least one free preventive benefit in 2011. Together, this means an estimated 86 million Americans were helped by provisions in the health reform law that encourage prevention.
One of the major goals of the Affordable Care Act is to help people stay healthy by giving them the tools they need to take charge of their own health and supporting a culture of prevention, rather than focusing on treatment after people get sick.
To do this, the health reform law requires many insurance plans to provide no-copay coverage for a variety of preventive health services, such as colonoscopy screenings for men, Pap smears and mammograms for women, well-child visits, and flu shots for all children and adults. The law also makes proven preventive services free for most people on Medicare.
Read more about the preventive services private insurers cover at no charge as a result of the Affordable Care Act here, and click here to learn about preventive services available through Medicare.
Posted by Amy Dudley on February 15, 2012 at 6:10 PM EST
Yesterday, at the invitation of Vice President Biden, Vice President Xi Jinping of the People’s Republic of China spent the morning at the White House for a series of meetings with President Obama, Vice President Biden, and other Administration officials. Vice President Xi’s visit to the United States this week – which includes stops in Washington, D.C., Iowa and California – is the second of the planned reciprocal visits between the Vice Presidents announced by President Obama and Chinese President Hu Jintao during President Hu’s state visit to Washington last year.
Welcoming Vice President Xi to the Roosevelt Room in the West Wing of the White House, Vice President Biden reflected on his four-day visit to China last August. “As we discussed in my visit to China, this bilateral relationship is one of the most important in the world… important not only to both our countries but to the world at large,” he said.
From the White House, the Vice Presidents continued on to the State Department for a lunch in Vice President Xi’s honor, co-hosted by Secretary Clinton. Over 200 guests enjoyed Asian-inspired dishes prepared by acclaimed Chinese-American chef Ming Tsai.
“Few other nations in history have come so far, so fast, and it’s a great credit to the talent and industriousness of the Chinese people,” Vice President Biden said in his remarks.
Posted by Alan Krueger and Gene Sperling on February 15, 2012 at 5:42 PM EST
In his State of the Union message last week, President Obama laid out a blueprint for an America that’s built to last—where hard work pays off and responsibility is rewarded. Today, the Departments of Treasury and Labor are taking steps to strengthen economic security for our nation’s seniors by giving Americans greater investment information and access to more choices to plan for a secure retirement. These steps will be of particular importance to women, who tend to live longer and have fewer retirement assets and lower retirement income than men.
The Department of Labor is taking action to require 401(k) plan providers to better disclose the cost and nature of the services they provide, while Treasury and the IRS are announcing steps that will ease regulatory barriers in the market for annuities and other forms of lifetime income. The Council of Economic Advisers (CEA) has prepared a detailed report describing the significance of today’s actions, which can be accessed here.
Today’s announcements complement previous Administration initiatives to make retirement more secure for American families. In September 2009, President Obama announced expanded opportunities for automatic enrollment in retirement savings plans. The President has also championed an automatic IRA legislative proposal through which tens of millions of workers without access to a workplace retirement plan would be automatically enrolled in IRAs through payroll deposit contributions, while remaining free to opt out. And the Administration has proposed easing requirements on the timing and amount of distributions from retirement accounts for many retirees, reducing the compliance burden and providing elderly Americans with greater control over their retirement assets.
Posted by Matt Compton on February 15, 2012 at 5:42 PM ESTPresident Barack Obama tours Master Lock Company with Bob Rice, Senior Vice President for Global Supply Chain/Product Development of Master Lock, in Milwaukee, Wis., Feb. 15, 2012. The President highlighted Master Lock in his State of the Union address as an example of a company moving jobs back to the U.S. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
In the State of the Union, President Obama took time to highlight Master Lock — a company that has discovered that it can actually save money by keeping production facilities in the United States and bringing jobs back to America.
Today, he traveled to Wisconsin to visit with Master Lock workers and talk about his plans to boost American manufacturing.
Master Lock’s decision to keep jobs in America is part of a growing trend. The President calls it insourcing.
And in Milwaukee, he talked about three ideas to reform corporate taxes, aimed at boosting that trend and rewarding companies that don’t move overseas.
Posted by Brad Cooper on February 15, 2012 at 4:29 PM ESTFrom left, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden listen to Gen. Martin Dempsey, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, speaks during a Joining Forces military spouse employment event at the Pentagon in Arlington, Va., Feb. 15, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)
Earlier today, I had the great privilege of joining the First Lady, Dr. Biden, members of Congress, the Secretary of Defense, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the Joint Chiefs and state legislators at the Pentagon for a major announcement impacting our nation’s military spouses.
In their travels to military bases across America and throughout the world over the last three years, the First Lady and Dr. Biden have heard stories from countless military family members and spouses. One of the top issues they hear about everywhere they go deals with the professional licensing requirements that affect how military spouses can move forward in their careers.
These spouses are among the more than 100,000 military spouses who serve in one of 50 professions that require a state license or credential – teachers, nurses, childcare providers, dental hygienists, real estate brokers, speech pathologists and many other professionals.
Here’s why this matters: military families are asked to move again and again as their husband or wife serves our country. In fact, military spouses move at a rate that is 10 times greater than the civilian population.
Each move to a new state can mean different credentialing or licensing standards – a process that can sometimes take months to resolve. In so many cases, these are qualified professionals who simply can’t work in their field because they’re waiting on paperwork.
Posted by Colleen Curtis on February 15, 2012 at 2:18 PM EST
President Obama yesterday asked Americans to share their stories, and tell him what losing $40 per paycheck would mean to their family. Of the thousands that responded, many were single moms, who sent us photos, tweets, and emails that illustrate just how important decisions made in Washington are to regular people across the country.
At the end of this month, a two-month extension of the payroll tax cut will expire. If Congress doesn’t act, taxes will go up on 160 million hardworking Americans. For a family making about $50,000 a year, the payroll tax cut amounts to about $1,000 a year, or about $40 in every paycheck. It may not seem like a lot of money to some people, but for single moms who wrote to us today, that money can make a big difference. Here are some of their stories:
I’m a single mom and $40.00 means an inhaler for my little girl! She suffers from asthma and her insurance only covers (with co-payment) one inhaler a month and sometimes I have to purchase 2 – 3 a month. So, $40 may not be much for some but it means I can provide for my kid’s well being. — Kathy from Florida
$40 a month helps me pay for the things my daughter needs to play for her high school softball team. Her sports drinks, her cleats, or gloves or whatever it may be that she needs. I am a single mom trying to give my daughter things my parents couldn’t afford. Please don’t take those $40 a pay away — Annette from New Jersey
I am a single mom and I have one son still at home. He is 14 and injured his knee in October, and $40 a month means I can afford the $30 co-pay for the orthopedic surgeon visits or the out-of-pocket deductible for his physical therapy. But more than that, if he hadn’t had this injury, that $40 a paycheck would still mean a lot to both of us. It might mean he and I could go to the movies and get burgers afterwards, or I could buy him a pair of jeans, or a tank of gas for our car. It would mean we could have a little bit more and that has been nice. I have so very much appreciated the tax relief and the extra money this bill has provided and I know millions of others Americans like me feel the same — Deborah from Ohio
$40 dollars puts one tank of gas in my economy car. It gives me the gas money I need to drive my son to school. When you are a single mother trying to send a child through college every penny counts – Marie from New Mexico
- $40 Means No Extras for My Students
- $40 Could Be the Difference Between Eating or Not Eating
- Why Your Voice Matters
Posted by Matt Compton on February 15, 2012 at 11:03 AM EST
Yesterday, we had the good fortune to host a group of individuals who answered the President’s call and spoke up to share their stories about what an extra $40 in each paycheck means to them.
When they sat down to talk with us, one after another, they said that they want other Americans to find opportunities to speak out.
Check it out:
Posted by Colleen Curtis on February 14, 2012 at 8:11 PM EST
President Obama today asked Americans to share their stories, and tell him what losing $40 per paycheck would mean to their family. Thousands responded, sending us photos, tweets, and emails that illustrate just how important decisions made in Washington are to regular people across the country.
At the end of this month, a two-month extension of the payroll tax cut will expire. If Congress doesn’t act, taxes will go up on 160 million hardworking Americans. For a family making about $50,000 a year, the payroll tax cut amounts to about $1,000 a year, or about $40 in every paycheck. It may not seem like a lot of money to some people, but for the people who wrote to us today, that money can make a big difference. Here are some of their stories:
Please, consider that many people like my family live by paycheck only, we cannot even have extra money for emergencies, because living life in this country is so expensive that our paycheck goes to pay rent, bills, and food, and sometimes we don’t even have for food. So, please DO NOT take that extra $40.00 taxes cut from our paycheck. — Brenda from California
To me and my family, $40 is the difference between opportunity and misfortune. When you include registration fees, uniforms, and expenses for equipment, travel and food, extracurricular activities alone can exceed $40 a paycheck (particularly if that money is divided over more than one child). Activities like baseball, martial arts, or community theater are far too important to children’s health, development, and well-being to not be apart of their lives. But when it comes down to paying bills and for essentials or extracurricular activities, all one can say is “sorry kids, no baseball this year”! – Eric from South Carolina
With my paycheck being the sole source of income for our family, $40 means EVERYTHING to us. Having $40 means we can afford groceries in those last few days before my next paycheck so we won’t go hungry. It means I can put a FEW gallons of gas in my car to make it to work for the next few days. It means I can afford a copay should my son need to see a doctor. It means we MAY be able to afford a prescription should we be prescribed one. We have done a short sale on our home, cut our budgets back to bare minimum, have relinquished all luxuries in our life but, yet still get up each day with the hope of something better. So, what does $40 mean to me? It means the difference between a healthy happy family that can sleep at night with a full stomach or having to tell my son that we may all have to go to bed hungry. — Amanda from Virginia
$40.00 means the world to my family and I. When the paycheck ends before the second week has begun, $40 is the difference between paying the mortgage or the light bill. We don’t live beyond our means, our cars are paid for. We remodel our home, and maintain the cars ourselves and we work hard for what we have. For Thanksgiving we hosted over 40 friends and relatives. Not because we had that luxury, but because we invited everyone to bring a dish because we knew they couldn’t afford the entire meal. We never thought we would get so many. Too many of our friends and family members have been devastated by the current economic downfall of this country. Many own/owned their own business and all are hard working decent Americans. Many, like myself, worked or were/are affiliated with both state and federal government agencies. We know all too well about politics and government spending. Some of our friends and associates are very wealthy and continue to be compensated far too well. $40 for us, that’s $960 for the year or groceries for three months, five months of electric bills. When you’re financially capable, $40 dollars is a night out at the movies, but for us and too many Americans, it is groceries for three months.
Now with 10 grandchildren, our 6 kids still respectfully rely on our support from time to time. We remember when we could hand them $40 each to go to the movies with high school friends on a Saturday. Now, $40 assists them with groceries for the week. We continue to motivate them, and we try to keep everyone’s spirits high with “it will get better if we just stick together until it gets better”. – Michael from Maryland
Read more stories:
Posted by Ginny Simmons on February 14, 2012 at 2:12 PM ESTSecretary Chu details President Barack Obama’s $27.2 billion fiscal year 2013 budget request for the Department of Energy.
Yesterday, Secretary Chu detailed President Barack Obama’s fiscal year 2013 budget, which includes a $27.2 billion request for the Energy Department. The Secretary emphasized the President’s commitment to an all-of-the-above energy strategy that includes critical investments in innovation, in job-creating clean energy technologies, and in our national security. You can check out a video of the event below.
“The United States is competing in a global race for the clean energy jobs of the future,” said Secretary Chu. “The choice we face as a nation is simple: do we want the clean energy technologies of tomorrow to be invented in America by American innovators, made by American workers and sold around the world, or do we want to concede those jobs to our competitors? We can and must compete for those jobs. This budget request includes responsible investments in an American economy that is built to last.”
Specifically the President’s FY 2013 budget request for the Department of Energy:
- Invests in cross-cutting research to lead in the research, development, deployment and production of clean energy technologies;
- Promotes efforts to make solar power affordable for all Americans by reducing the cost of solar energy by 75 percent and making it cost competitive without subsidies by the end of the decade;
- Continues the Obama Administration’s efforts to reduce our dependence on oil by one-third by 2025;
- Supports groundbreaking basic science, research and innovation to solve our energy challenges and ensure that the United States remains at the forefront of science and technology;
- Strengthens national security by reducing nuclear dangers and maintaining a safe, secure and effective nuclear deterrent; and
- Advances responsible environmental management by cleaning up the legacy from the Manhattan Project and the Cold War.