Office of Intergovernmental Affairs Blog

  • What the Affordable Care Act Means Across the Country

    Last week marked two years since the Affordable Care Act was signed into law by President Obama.  Millions of Americans have already been helped by the health reform law, including 2.5 million young adults who now have coverage, and 20.4 million women who now have access to preventive care. State and local officials across the country wrote to explain how heath care reform is already impacting their community.

    California Attorney General Kamala Harris issued a statement to describe what the Affordable Care Act means to California:

    This historic reform to our healthcare system protects everyone, particularly the most vulnerable among us, including our children and seniors.  Californians can no longer lose their health coverage for being ill, and soon they will not be denied coverage on the basis of a pre-existing condition.

    In Oregon, Governor John Kitzhaber explained in the Oregonian how the Affordable Care Act is reducing costs:

    People have access to better coverage, and states like Oregon have the flexibility we need to drive down costs while improving the delivery of health care for those who need it most.  In just the past year, nearly 45,000 Oregon seniors covered by Medicare saved $23.5 million on the cost of their prescription drugs, while nationwide 3.6 million seniors saved an average of $600 each on prescriptions. 

  • Veterans, Jobs and Small Business: An Afternoon with the National League of Cities

    On Tuesday, the White House hosted over one hundred officials with the National League of Cities for an afternoon of briefings in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building. The city leaders talked local business with Small Business Administrator Karen Mills, heard from Brad Cooper, the Executive Director of the First Lady’s Joining Forces initiative, discussed public-private partnerships with Greg Nelson, Deputy Director of the Office of Public Engagement and Don Graves, Executive Director of the President's Council on Jobs and Competitiveness, and got an economic briefing from Jason Furman, the Principal Deputy Director of the National Economic Council.

    Check out pictures from the afternoon in the National League of Cities Photo Gallery below.

    • National League of Cities Members Attend Briefing

      NLC members welcome participants to a White House briefing, March 13, 2012. (Photo courtesy National League of Cities)

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    • Administrator Karen Mills Speaks to NLC

      Small Business Administrator Karen Mills speaks to NLC members, March 13, 2012. (Photo courtesy National League of Cities)

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    • David Agnew Speaks to National League of Cities

      Director of Intergovernmental Affairs David Agnew speaks to NLC members, March 13, 2012. (Photo courtesy National League of Cities)

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    • Brad Cooper Speaks to National League of Cities

      Brad Cooper, Executive Director of Joining Forces talks about support for veterans, March 13, 2012. (Photo courtesy National League of Cities)

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    • Brad Cooper Takes Questions from NLC

      Brad Cooper, Executive Director of Joining Forces takes questions from NLC members, March 13, 2012. (Photo courtesy National League of Cities)

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    • Greg Nelson Talks to NLC

      Greg Nelson of the Public Engagement Office & Don Graves of the President's Council on Jobs, March 13, 2012.(Photo courtesy National League of Cities)

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    • NLC Members attend EEOB Briefing

      NLC Members ask questions in a White House briefing, March 13, 2012. (Photo courtesy National League of Cities)

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    • National League of Cities Leadership

      NLC President Mayor Ellis and Vice-President Mayor Lopez Rogers speak to David Agnew, March 13, 2012. (Photo courtesy National League of Cities)

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  • A Field Trip with the President

    Orchard Gardens Students Meet President

    President Barack Obama and Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick listen as Orchard Gardens Elementary School students recite Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s “I Have a Dream" speech in the Diplomatic Reception Room of the White House, Feb. 28, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

    On a cold Tuesday morning, Mrs. Darlene White-Dottin’s first grade class arrived at school at 4:30 in the morning.  However, these students from Orchard Gardens School in Boston, MA weren’t arriving early to hit the books; they were about to begin an once-in-a-lifetime field trip to Washington, D.C.  The class was going to recite Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech for President Obama and Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick at the White House. 

    Showing no signs of exhaustion, the students enthusiastically recited Dr. King’s speech and conveyed the powerful meaning of his teachings by describing to the President what the words meant to them. 

  • President Obama Challenges Governors to Invest in Education

    President Obama meets with NGA (February 27, 2012)

    President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden meet with the National Governors Association in the State Dining Room of the White House, Feb. 27, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

    Today, President Obama challenged state governors to make sure all students in their schools today get the education and skills they need to compete for the jobs of tomorrow.

    A majority of states will spend less on elementary and secondary schools in 2012 than they did last year, and more than 40 states cut higher education spending in 2011 — cuts that lead to higher tuition prices in our public colleges and universities.

    But when our economy is struggling, the last place to make cuts is in education. Making sure that every student in our country graduates from high school prepared for college and a successful career is central to rebuilding our economy and securing a brighter future. And when students go on to pursue higher education, we should make sure they are able to pay for it.

    “Nothing more clearly signals what you value as a state as the decisions you make about where to invest,” President Obama told governors. “Budgets are about choices, so today I’m calling on you to choose to invest more in teachers, invest more in education, and invest more in our children and their future.”

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  • First Lady and Dr. Biden Urge Action from State Governors on Military Spouse Hiring

    First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden at the 2012 NGA meeting (February 27, 2012)

    First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden discuss military spouse employment at the National Governors Association annual meeting in the State Dining Room of the White House, Feb. 27, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson)

    Earlier this morning, the First Lady and Dr. Jill Biden addressed the National Governors Association (NGA) Winter Meeting, the annual meeting that brings state leaders to Washington, D.C. to discuss important issues impacting all Americans.

    Today, the First Lady and Dr Biden had one message for the governors: urging them to take action on the state level to support America’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. 

    Less than two weeks ago, the First Lady and Dr. Biden joined the Secretary of Defense, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and all of the Joint Chiefs in rolling out a new report on state licensing.   

    This is an enormous issue for military spouses throughout this country. There are more than 100,000 military spouses who serve in the dozens of professions that require a state license or credential – teachers, nurses, childcare providers, dental hygienists, real estate brokers, speech pathologists and many other professionals. Each move to a new state can mean different credentialing or licensing standards – a process that can sometimes take months to resolve.  

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  • Eliminating Barriers to Growing Our Economy

    Throughout today and the rest of the weekend, President Obama will be meeting with governors from around the country. Today, he met with Democratic governors and talked about ways the federal government and the states can work together to create jobs and grow the economy.  In particular, the President talked about ways to accelerate the growing trend of ‘insourcing’ – where companies are bringing jobs back to the United States and making additional investments here in America. The President’s conversation with governors about how we can work together to put Americans back to work and build an economy built to last will continue with a larger, bipartisan group of governors Monday. 

    Last year, around this time – along with similar meetings with governors – the President instructed agencies to work closely with State, local, and tribal governments to identify any Federal barriers that prevent efficient use of taxpayer dollars to achieve the best results.

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