Macon PhillipsMarch 17, 2010
01:21 PM EDT
March 17, 2010
09:58 AM EDT
- 9 -- that's number of states and the District of Columbia where there is still no specific law that makes it illegal for insurers to reject applicants who are survivors of domestic violence by citing the history of domestic violence as a pre-existing condition. [Source]
In many ways, America's women are those struggling most under the health care status quo. We're uniquely impacted by gender inequalities ranging from being charged higher premiums just because we're women to insurance companies being allowed in some states to deny coverage because of so-called “pre-existing conditions” like being pregnant. In addition, we're often the ones looked to for handling the health care of others. Most mothers say they're the ones responsible for managing their families' care -- from choosing doctors to taking their kids to appointments to fulfilling family prescriptions. And many women also find themselves caring for a sick or elderly relative.
While women may be dealing with many of the hardships of our broken health care system firsthand -- women also have the most to gain from health insurance reform.
Take a look at the video First Lady Michelle Obama previously recorded to highlight health insurance reform from the unique perspective of women:
Today’s number -- 9 -- is the latest in our ‘Health Reform by the Numbers’ series, an online campaign to raise awareness about how we just can’t wait any longer for health insurance reform. You can follow the campaign on Whitehouse.gov and social networks like Facebook, Twitter, MySpace and LinkedIn.
To help spread the word, share this blog post with your family, friends and online networks using the ‘Share/Bookmark’ feature below.
If you still have questions about what reform means for you and your family, tune in tonight at 5:15pm ET to get answers from HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.
Aneesh ChopraMarch 16, 2010
05:54 PM EDT
Today the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) released the National Broadband Plan, called for in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to identify ways to expand access to broadband and promote economic growth and job creation.
In his statement on the plan’s release, President Obama committed to “build upon our efforts over the past year to make America's nationwide broadband infrastructure the world’s most powerful platform for economic growth and prosperity.” To that end, I’ve established a Broadband Subcommittee of the National Science and Technology Council’s Committee on Technology, co-chaired by Larry Strickling, Assistant Secretary for Communications and Information at the Department of Commerce, and Scott Blake Harris, General Counsel at the Department of Energy. This interagency group will focus closely on the plan by the FCC—an independent agency—and advise the Administration on actions it can take to promote broadband as a platform to improve the lives of everyday Americans and drive innovation in the economy.
The Obama Administration is committed to continuing to build upon the nearly $2 billion already committed by the Commerce and Agriculture Departments to deliver broadband to unserved and underserved communities, stimulate job creation, and foster long-term economic growth. It has also undertaken initiatives to bring the efficiencies and innovations of broadband to many sectors of the economy. These initiatives include the Department of Health and Human Services’ commitment to facilitating the movement of healthcare information safely and securely from where it is collected to where it is needed in order to reduce costs and improve patient care; the Department of Energy’s investment of more than $11 billion in Recovery Act funds to use Internet-like technologies to modernize our electricity transmission system with an interactive “Smart Grid”; the Department of Homeland Security’s work to integrate broadband and next-generation technologies into the National Emergency Communications Plan, which will extend the developing advanced-information technology ecosystem to include emergency response; and the collaboration across all Departments and agencies throughout the Administration to ensure that new broadband platforms and the services that travel over them are secure.
The Administration will continue to engage the public on this issue, as Secretary Arne Duncan did last week when he called for public input on the draft National Education Technology Plan, which articulates a bold vision of a world-class education environment powered by technology that relies on broadband access both in and out of school. The Administration also continues to implement its Open Government Directive, which is seeking public input on how each Federal agency should achieve greater transparency, participation, and collaboration, in part by taking fuller advantage of the capabilities of broadband.
Thank you, Chairman Genachowski, the Commissioners, Executive Director Blair Levin, and the FCC staff for your tireless work and your dedication to the broadband future of the country.
Aneesh Chopra is U.S. Chief Technology Officer and Associate Director for Technology in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy
March 16, 2010
05:30 PM EDT
It seems at first a simple graph; a few skinny bars reaching various heights along a non-descript x-axis. By most accounts it is a simple depiction I suppose—a graph in this instance showing the number of pallets of relief aid that flowed across beaches the Navy created in response to the earthquake in Haiti.
I, however, see something completely different when I look at that sparse graphic in the corner of the powerpoint slide I have my staff produce everyday. I look at the tiny measure of “three” on 18 January, and remember Captain Fred Wilhelm’s even and intent voice on the phone as he told me of the horror he and his GUNSTON HALL crew had encountered when they first went ashore in Killick, Haiti. The vastness of the medical emergencies and the devastation at what used to be a functioning Haitian Coast Guard base—turned into what he described as the “site of a plane crash”. I remember the urgency with which he dispatched his boat back to his ship to bring medical personnel and supplies—three pallets worth—including, though not specifically authorized, lots and lots of painkilling medicine to help the horribly injured. In that tiny measure of “three” I see a Commanding Officer making tough gut calls balancing policy and regulation against the immediate and dire compulsion of people in need; I see hurried but professional Navy medical personnel attending to people strewn about, too weak and injured to move, some already gone and sadly but necessarily passed by. I see young Sailors intently hand-over-handing boxes of medical supplies getting relief to those laying on the ground, too focused then to realize the images they were seeing that day would likely be with them the rest of their lives. I see other Sailors resolutely carrying other injured Haitians to that section of spare grass reserved for those who would not be in need of the helicopters hovering overhead, those who were to be compassionately administered a final dose of morphine to relieve their suffering during their last moments on earth. All this I see in that sad measure of “three”—the first pallets of relief delivered ashore into the vastness of devastation by the BATAAN Amphibious Relief Mission encountered in Haiti.
Jesse LeeMarch 16, 2010
05:18 PM EDT
On the morning of Friday, March 19, 2010, as we draw even closer to health reform putting Americans in charge of their health care, President Obama will speak on the urgent need for reform in Fairfax, Virginia at George Mason University’s Patriot Center – get directions here. Doors open at 9:00AM EDT.
There are no tickets needed for this event, just show up – but if you are in the area and on Facebook by all means rsvp to our Facebook event.
Just as a heads up, no signs or banners are permitted, and those who come are encouraged to limit personal items and not bring bags or purses
In the meantime, here's a video from his last health reform event:
Jesse LeeMarch 16, 2010
04:25 PM EDT
Moments ago the President issued a statement on the National Broadband Plan just released by the Federal Communications Commission:
America today is on the verge of a broadband-driven Internet era that will unleash innovation, create new jobs and industries, provide consumers with new powerful sources of information, enhance American safety and security, and connect communities in ways that strengthen our democracy. Just as past generations of Americans met the great infrastructure challenges of the day, such as building the Transcontinental railroad and the Interstate highways, so too must we harness the potential of the Internet. Expanding broadband across the nation will build a foundation of sustained economic growth and the widely shared prosperity we all seek.
I commend Chairman Julius Genachowski, the Commissioners, and the FCC staff for their hard work in developing the National Broadband Plan.
My Administration will build upon our efforts over the past year to make America's nationwide broadband infrastructure the world’s most powerful platform for economic growth and prosperity, including improving access to mobile broadband, maximizing technology innovation, and supporting a nationwide, interoperable public safety wireless broadband network.
FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski has a post up on the broadband blog laying out the basics -- or if you prefer, here he is in video form:
March 16, 2010
03:47 PM EDT
Earlier this morning, the First Lady spoke about her Let’s Move campaign to take action on childhood obesity at a Grocery Manufacturer’s Association Conference. She urged the manufacturers to join the effort to promote healthy eating habits by rethinking the kinds of products they offer, providing parents clear information about the products, and marketing healthier foods to children.
The First Lady called for clear, consistent labels on the products to help parents make good food decisions. “Folks just don’t have the time to line products up side by side and figure out whether these compare or not. And they shouldn’t have to. Parents shouldn’t need a magnifying glass and a calculator to make healthy choices for their kids,” she said.
She also asked them to rethink their marketing strategies targeted towards children, because the majority of commercials and ads promote unhealthy, fattening foods. She emphasized that it would not be enough to limit ads, but they would also need to take a strong effort to begin marketing healthy foods.
The First Lady explained that the government is taking similar steps by providing fresher, healthier food choices in all federal government workplaces.
“Today, with the issue of childhood obesity, we all face a similar opportunity. And you face it not just as food industry leaders, but you face it as parents who love your kids and as citizens who love this nation. And in the end, I am hopeful that you will choose to make the changes that we need not just because they’re good for your company, but because they’re good for our country. I know that you’ll do these things not just to fulfill your obligation to shareholders, but also because you have a sense of obligation to our children -- because the truth is, all of us are paying the cost of childhood obesity. But the truth is also that we all will gain from addressing it once and for all.”
March 16, 2010
03:04 PM EDT
In his proclamation for Women’s History Month on March 2, President Obama said, "Our nation's commitment to women's rights must not end at our own borders, and my Administration is making global women's empowerment a core pillar of our foreign policy."
At this year’s session of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (CSW), the United States demonstrated that commitment, with a high-level and engaged delegation and with bold leadership across a range of issues. We focused on the most glaring challenges women still face: the lack of economic empowerment, equal rights, violence against women and maternal mortality.
As Ambassador Susan Rice noted, every year, an estimated 530,000 women die from largely preventable complications during pregnancy or childbirth. This means that somewhere in the world, a woman dies from pregnancy-related conditions once every minute. The U.S.-led resolution, the cornerstone of our work at the 54th session, calls for the elimination of maternal mortality and morbidity through the empowerment of women. It urges leaders to tackle this problem through renewed political will, increased resources and access to women’s sexual and reproductive health services, and a shared determination to confront the underlying causes of gender inequality, including sexual violence against women.
On Friday, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton spoke to an enthusiastic crowd of top diplomats and delegates detailing the global progress that has been made since the 1995 Beijing World Conference on Women. Secretary Clinton highlighted ways in which women and girls around the world have heeded the call to action issued in Beijing – from bringing peace to Liberia, to taking a stand against child marriage in Yemen, to founding microcredit cooperatives throughout the developing world. But, she noted that inequalities, discrimination, and oppression still exist. Secretary Clinton spoke about the way in which we are integrating women throughout our foreign policy – in our strategy for Afghanistan and Pakistan, in our work to prevent violence against women and girls in conflict, and in our Global Health Initiative, food security program, and response to the crisis of climate change. And she urged that we must say with one voice that "women’s progress is human progress and human progress is women’s progress, once and for all."
Also at this year’s Session, the United States was steadfast in pushing for the creation of a more robust, efficient and effective agency at the UN to advance women’s equality and opportunities. Ambassador Rice said the new agency must be "swiftly established, well staffed, and sufficiently resourced. A key component will be the prompt appointment of a dynamic, high-level person as Under-Secretary-General to head it…we are working diligently to make it happen."
We were fortunate to have a high-level and top notch team to advance our efforts during CSW, led by Secretary Clinton and Ambassador Rice. The team included Melanne Verveer, Ambassador at Large for Global Women’s Issues, and Deputy Heads of Delegation Ambassador Rick Barton and Ambassador Meryl Frank. The U.S. delegation also included five experienced public delegates: Beth Brooke, Global Vice Chair of Public Policy at Ernst & Young; Ellen Chesler, distinguished lecturer at Hunter College; Connie Evans, President and CEO of the Association for Enterprise Opportunity; Geeta Rao Gupta, President of the International Center for Research on Women; and Asifa Quraishi, founding member of the National Association of Muslim Lawyers. We were also joined by key advisors: Valerie Jarrett, Senior Advisor to the President; Lynn Rosenthal, White House Advisor on Violence Against Women; and Tina Tchen, Director of the White House Office of Public Engagement and Executive Director of the White House Council on Women and Girls.
As Ambassador Rice summarized, our work at CSW was driven by the goal of realizing "a world where women and girls everywhere can fulfill their potential, free of fear, free of want, and with the opportunity to live their own dreams. Many in this country may take those opportunities for granted. But when women are held back anywhere, the world is held back."
Jennifer Simon is a Senior Advisor to Ambassador Susan Rice, and serves as the Ambassador’s representative on the White House Council on Women and Girls
Melody BarnesMarch 16, 2010
01:17 PM EDT
The First Lady has set an ambitious goal for all of us -- to solve the challenge of childhood obesity in this Nation within a generation. We’ve got a lot of work to do!
That’s why the President asked me to chair a new interagency Childhood Obesity Task Force. The task force is developing an action plan for how federal, state, and local governments, along with the private and nonprofit sectors, can come together and take specific steps to achieve this goal. (You can see the full Presidential Memorandum creating the Task Force and requesting the action plan within 90 days here.)
We want the best ideas from across the country -- not just from researchers, but from parents and teachers and everyone with a stake in our children’s future. So we’ve set up a way for you to send in your thoughts. You can view our "Request for Information” and see how to submit your suggestions here. You don’t have to answer all of the questions; whatever ideas you have are welcome. The deadline for replying is March 26.
We need as many hands on deck as possible to meet the challenge before us, so we hope you join us by sending in your ideas and getting involved in Let’s Move! in your own community.
Melody Barnes is Assistant to the President for Domestic Policy
Ken SalazarMarch 16, 2010
12:49 PM EDT
Last summer, I had the honor of travelling with the President his family to Yellowstone National Park. The Obama family followed a long tradition of American Presidents visiting our nation National Parks including President’s Chester A. Arthur, Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Bill Clinton.
The National Park system is a fundamentally American and democratic idea: protecting our nation’s finest landscapes, preserving our history and culture, and providing places of recreation and respite for all Americans to enjoy. As Secretary of the Interior, I’m proud to continue this tradition of investing in and protecting these places that define us as a nation.
I hope you’ll enjoy this never before seen footage of the first family’s trip to Yellowstone last summer -- or an extended version here -- and we look forward to seeing you at one of our National Parks this summer!
Ken Salazar in Secretary of the Interior
Jesse LeeMarch 16, 2010
10:35 AM EDT
“After over a year of debate, the final package is only days away from getting the up-or-down vote Americans deserve” – so said HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius after another step forward in the House Budget Committee yesterday. As we move closer to reform, though, we want to make sure you have every opportunity to get your questions answered on what it would mean for you and your family. Of course you can find a lot of those answers in our section of WhiteHouse.gov dedicated to the President’s proposal, but there’s no better person to go deeper into the issues than Secretary Sebelius, so we hope you’ll join us tomorrow at 5:15PM EDT for another online video chat where she’ll take your questions live. In addition, we’ll be trying something new by conducting the chat through Ustream, which also allows you to sign into the chat via not only Facebook, but Twitter, MySpace, and even AOL Instant Messenger.
March 16, 2010
09:52 AM EDT
- If you’re an American under the age of 65, there’s roughly a 50/50 chance that you will find yourself without coverage at some point in the next decade.[Source]
President Obama first highlighted this staggering figure in a weekly address from this past September and detailed how, in our broken health care system, losing insurance can happen to anyone. At yesterday’s rally, the President reminded us of just how fragile the status quo really is:
Part of what makes this issue difficult is most of us do have health insurance, we still do. And so -- and so we kind of feel like, well, I don’t know, it’s kind of working for me; I’m not worrying too much. But what we have to understand is that what’s happened to Natoma, there but for the grace of God go any one of us. Anybody here, if you lost your job right now and after the COBRA ran out …
So let’s just think about -- think about if you lost your job right now. How many people here might have had a preexisting condition that would mean it’d be very hard to get health insurance on the individual market? Think about if you wanted to change jobs. Think about if you wanted to start your own business but you suddenly had to give up your health insurance on your job. Think about what happens if a child of yours, heaven forbid, got diagnosed with something that made it hard for them to insure.
For so many people, it may not be a problem right now but it’s going to be a problem later, at any point. And even if you’ve got good health insurance, what’s happening to your premiums? What’s happening to your co-payments? What’s happening to your deductible? They’re all going up. That’s money straight out of your pocket.
So the bottom line is this: The status quo on health care is simply unsustainable. We can’t have -- we can’t have a system that works better for the insurance companies than it does for the American people.
Today’s number – 50/50 – is the latest in our ‘Health Reform by the Numbers’ series, an online campaign to raise awareness about how we just can’t wait any longer for health insurance reform. You can follow the campaign on Whitehouse.gov and social networks like Facebook, Twitter, MySpace and LinkedIn.
To help spread the word, share this blog post with your family, friends and online networks using the ‘Share/Bookmark’ feature below.
March 16, 2010
08:00 AM EDT
This Sunshine Week, as we join individuals and organizations across the country in recognizing the vital importance of openness in government, we wanted to look back on the many areas where we have opened government up and let the sunshine in—and also look forward to how we will build on our efforts so far to promote transparency. The White House today issued this Memorandum from the Chief of Staff and the White House Counsel taking due note of our successes—and urging the agencies to redouble these efforts in our second year in key areas such as Freedom of Information Act compliance.
While there is much yet to be done, it has been an extraordinary first year. As a result of our overall record on transparency, we received an A grade for our openness work from a consortium of independent outside government reform groups and have even gotten praise from those who are sometimes pretty tough on us.
We began this work on day one of the Administration, when the President issued a Memorandum on Transparency and Open Government , calling for more transparent, participatory, and collaborative government.
Consistent with that approach, the White House this year began publishing the names of those who visit the White House. Each month, tens of thousands of records of visitors are made available online. This gives the public an unprecedented look at whose voices are being heard in the policymaking process. And in that spirit, we also provided on-line access to White House staff financial reports and salaries, and a host of other White House information, much of which had never been instantly available by internet before.
To reform a system that too often resulted in unnecessary and costly classification of records, the President also issued an Executive Order that speeds declassification by balancing the priorities of national security with the public’s right to know. The President furthermore reversed an executive order that previously limited access to presidential records. And he issued a memorandum to begin reform of the government’s FOIA system, establishing a clear presumption of openness. The Attorney General affirmed this change when he issued new FOIA guidelines for all agencies throughout government. We believe that the first-year Chief FOIA Officer Reports that are forthcoming from the agencies will show progress on FOIA, though an additional year of data (and of hard work!) will be necessary to make a fuller judgment.
We have also adopted a policy of affirmatively disclosing vast amounts of government information. We launched Data.gov in May, 2009 with 47 data sets but ended the year with over 118,000 all freely available in machine-readable format. By making nutritional information available, the Administration empowered parents to plan smarter meals for their families. By making information on the status and causes of airport delays available, the government enabled travelers to better plan their days. By making workplace safety information available, we helped employers keep America’s workers out of harm’s way.
Mitigating the risk of fraud, waste, and abuse, the Administration is also tracking how the government uses the money with which the people have entrusted it with easy-to-understand websites like Recovery.gov, data.gov, and USASpending.gov (the IT Dashboard). These websites allow American taxpayers to see precisely what entities receive federal money –and how and where the money is spent.
Tying all of these efforts together, in December 2009 OMB issued an historic Open Government Directive, instructing every agency to take immediate, specific steps to open their operations up to the public. The product of an unprecedented outreach effort to tap the public’s ideas, the Directive instructs agencies to place high-value information to the public online in open, accessible, machine-readable formats. It also aims to instill the values of transparency, participation, and collaboration into the culture of every agency by requiring each agency to formulate - in consultation with the American people - an Open Government Plan and website. In April, the agencies will release Open Government Plans pursuant to the Directive.
We are proud of our successes, but we of course recognize that much remains to be done, and we intend to redouble our efforts to make government as transparent, collaborative and participatory as possible.
Happy Sunshine Week.
Norm Eisen is Special Counsel to the President for Ethics and Government Reform
Secretary Kathleen SebeliusMarch 15, 2010
05:55 PM EDT
Today, comprehensive health reform came one step closer to becoming a reality. This afternoon, the House Budget Committee voted to advance the legislation to the next phase in the process. After over a year of debate, the final package is only days away from getting the up-or-down vote Americans deserve.
This is good news for all the Americans suffering in the current system. Across the country, millions of Americans have seen their health insurance premiums skyrocket or have been denied coverage due to pre-existing conditions. Health care costs are crushing business, family, and government budgets. And without action, we know these problems will only get worse.
Today, the Budget Committee took an important step forward toward giving these families and small business owners some relief. It’s time for Congress to finish the job and pass reform that will give Americans control over their health care choices.
Kathleen Sebelius is Secretary of Health and Human Services
March 15, 2010
05:16 PM EDT
While most people will have to wait to honor Greek Independence Day, three hundred Greek-Americans, Greeks, and Greek-lovers descended upon the White House Tuesday night to celebrate three weeks early. As the President joked, the Greeks never need an excuse to have a good time.
And there’s no doubt a good time was had by all. Not only were our appetites satiated by the talented Iron Chef Cat Cora, but our hearts were warmed by the attendance of His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios and, for the first time, Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou and his wife, Ada. This year also marked the first time the First Lady joined in the celebration which, in the words of the Archbishop, “certainly enhances the joy of the day.”
But Tuesday’s reception’s significance extends beyond the remembrance of Greek Independence Day. It was also a celebration of what Prime Minister Papandreou called the “lasting link” between the American and Greek people. – a link further strengthened by the Department of Homeland Security’s announcement that Greece has been added to the Visa Waiver Program. It is an enduring bond forged by our shared history, our common values, and our united obligation to build a better future.
In that spirit, President Obama highlighted the Greek concept of Philotimo – literally, the “love of honor.” But practically, Philotimo means so much more. It is the sense of love for family, community and country. It is the sense of nobility and morality enshrined in Greek mythology. And it is the sense of right and wrong and the duty to do what’s right.
While the English language offers no direct translation of Philotimo, American citizens uphold this essential concept every time they volunteer in their local community, dig deep into their pockets to donate to charity, or generally go out of their way to improve the life of their neighbor.
Darron P. Monteiro is the Deputy Associate Director of the Office of Public Engagement
Jesse LeeMarch 15, 2010
02:45 PM EDT
This afternoon the President was in Ohio as the year-long battle to finally reform America's health insurance system draws towards a close – and he took the opportunity to remind everybody why he has fought so hard for so long against such powerful interests. He was introduced by Connie Anderson, the sister of Natoma Canfield – a woman whose awful but all-too-common struggles have served as a brutal symbol of what is wrong with our system for millions of others.
It began with a letter – the type of letter millions of Americans have written to their presidents since the founding of this country. But this letter, which she likely never expected anybody even close to the President to see, ended up in his hands. It told of her story having battled off cancer sixteen years ago, and having battled with her insurance company ever since -- see the scanned images below or read the text of the letters here.
The President replied to her letter, but that was only the beginning:
When the President and HHS Secretary Sebelius met with insurance company executives recently asking them to justify their alarming rate increases across the country in recent months, he read her letter to them to make clear that this was not about politics, or lobbying, or grandstanding – this was about countless stories of working Americans being crushed under their health care costs, even when they play by the rules and pay their dues to insurance companies for what is supposed to be peace of mind.
Last week, though, Natoma collapsed. She was taken to an emergency room, and has since been diagnosed with Leukemia. Natoma and her family are struggling to determine how they will afford Natoma’s medical treatment now that she no longer has insurance, which she dropped in January 2010 because of rate hikes that simply made insurance unaffordable.
After being introduced by Natoma’s sister, the President recounted her story – and leaned into the microphone as he told the crowd what he has been trying to do for the past year:
THE PRESIDENT: So you want to know why I’m here, Ohio? I’m here because of Natoma. (Applause.) I’m here because of the countless others who have been forced to face the most terrifying challenges in their lives with the added burden of medical bills they can’t pay. I don't think that’s right. (Applause.) Neither do you. That’s why we need health insurance right now. Health insurance reform right now. (Applause.)
AUDIENCE: Obama! Obama! Obama! Obama!
THE PRESIDENT: I’m here because of my own mother’s story. She died of cancer, and in the last six months of her life, she was on the phone in her hospital room arguing with insurance companies instead of focusing on getting well and spending time with her family.
I’m here because of the millions who are denied coverage because of preexisting conditions or dropped from coverage when they get sick. (Applause.)
I’m here because of the small businesses who are forced to choose between health care and hiring. (Applause.)
I’m here because of the seniors unable to afford the prescriptions that they need. (Applause.)
I’m here because of the folks seeing their premiums go up 20 and 30 and 40 and 50 and 60 percent in a year. (Applause.)
Ohio, I am here because that is not the America I believe in and that’s not the America that you believe in.
AUDIENCE MEMBER: What’s your plan?
THE PRESIDENT: So when you hear people say “start over” --
THE PRESIDENT: -- I want you to think about Natoma. When you hear people saying that this isn’t the “right time,” you think about what she’s going through. When you hear people talk about, well, what does this mean for the Democrats? What does this mean for the Republicans? I don’t know how the polls are doing. When you hear people more worried about the politics of it than what’s right and what’s wrong, I want you to think about Natoma and the millions of people all across this country who are looking for some help, and looking for some relief. That’s why we need health insurance reform right now. (Applause.)
Jesse LeeMarch 15, 2010
01:43 PM EDT
This morning Secretary of Education Arne Duncan appeared on ABC’s Good Morning America, Fox News’ Fox and Friends, CNN’s American Morning and MSNBC’s Morning Joe to talk about the President’s new blueprint for an updated Elementary and Secondary Education Act to overhaul No Child Left Behind. From his appearance on Good Morning America:
We have to educate our way to a better economy. We should be leading the world in college graduates, not lagging many other countries, and the way we get there is through unprecedented investment. The president is putting tremendous resources behind this and we have to lead the country in a race to the top. If we can graduate every child from High School, college and career ready and prepared to fulfill their dreams they’re going to have a great chance at education, and that’s what we’re prepared to do.
Secretary Duncan discussed the importance of expanding the curriculum under the new program and offering every student the opportunity for an education in a system that holds teachers, principals, schools and states accountable.
Every child needs a well rounded education. Yes reading and math are hugely important but so is social studies so is science so are the arts so is PE so is recess, all those things that keep children healthy and happy and developing their skills and passions. That’s what we have to get back to and that’s what we’re committed to doing. We’re putting as much as a billion dollars out around the country to make sure students have access to a well rounded education
For the first time with this law there’ll be shared responsibility not just with teachers, principals schools systems and even states everyone is gonna be accountable for driving better results. We’re also making an unprecedented investment, 3.9 billion dollars, to help teachers be more successful. More time for collaboration better professional development, better mentoring, we have to partner and support the extraordinary work and the very every difficult work that teachers are doing around the country and were gonna be a better partner than the federal government has ever been.
March 15, 2010
10:08 AM EDT
- 1 -- in every six dollars in the U.S. economy is spent on health care today. [Source]
- If we do nothing, in 30 years, 1 out of every three dollars in our economy will be tied up in the health care system. [Source]
Yesterday, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Urban Institute, non-partisan research organizations, released a report analyzing the cost of maintaining the status quo on health care. Here’s just a sample of what they believe we could be facing in the years ahead:
- Families will face dramatically higher health care costs. Individual and family spending on premiums and out-of-pocket health care costs will increase significantly. Spending would jump 34 percent by 2015 and 79 percent by 2020.
- Premiums will become increasingly expensive for employers and their workers. Premiums for both single and family policies would more than double by 2020, increasing from $4,800 to $10,300 for single policies, and from $12,100 to $25,600 for family policies.
- Employers will see large increases in premium costs. Employer spending on premiums would increase from $430 billion in 2010 to $851 billion in 2020 -- a 98 percent increase.
- Many small and medium sized firms would quit offering health care coverage to workers. As premiums nearly double, employees in small firms would see offers of health insurance almost cut in half, dropping from 41 percent of firms offering insurance in 2010 to 23 percent in 2020. Medium-sized firms would also cut offers of health insurance, dropping from 90 percent in 2010 to 75 percent in 2020.
It’s clear: the cost of doing nothing is too high. The time is now to reform our broken health care system.
Today’s number, 1, is the latest in ‘Health Reform by the Numbers,’ our online campaign to raise awareness about why the time is now for health insurance reform. You can follow the campaign on Whitehouse.gov and social networks like Facebook, Twitter, MySpace and LinkedIn.
To help spread the word, share this blog post with your family, friends and online networks using the ‘Share/Bookmark’ feature below.
Jared BernsteinMarch 15, 2010
09:35 AM EDT
Last week, President Obama gave an important economic speech about his goal for the US to double our exports over the next five years. Get this right, and we’re talking about two million good jobs making stuff here and selling it to other countries.
The President announced a set of initiatives that will help our firms sell into foreign markets, but I’d like to talk briefly about another policy the President and Vice-President have been touting of late: the (somewhat inauspiciously named) 48C Advanced Energy Manufacturing Tax Credit.
This is a 30 percent tax credit that can be used to offset the costs of investment in building clean energy equipment right here in the good old USA. You heard me: we build it here to expand our own domestic capacity in clean energy manufacturing. This helps on the import side by meeting more domestic demand with domestic capacity. But we also start selling more of these goods abroad, complementing the goal the President set out in yesterday’s speech to boost exports.
The Recovery Act provided $2.3 billion for the tax credit, but the credit was so popular that we received many more qualified applications than we were able to accept. As part of our jobs agenda to build off of Recovery Act successes, the President has called for a $5 billion expansion of 48C. And note that because the tax credit offsets less than a third of the costs of an investment, it brings private-sector capital in from the sidelines – $5 billion in tax credits means $15 billion of total investment.
With 48C, we don’t merely create good jobs today. We lay the foundation for a vibrant, clean energy industry tomorrow. The credit can support investments in advanced energy technology throughout the economy, from technologies like wind turbines and solar panels that create energy from renewable resources, to technologies like batteries and smart grid systems that store and transmit that energy, to technologies like advanced lighting that help conserve energy. Not to mention investments in plug-in electric vehicles and their components, or investments in equipment to capture and sequester carbon dioxide or otherwise reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Now, think about all of the above in the context of the President’s agenda, including job growth, clean energy, and exports. We’ve got the world’s most productive manufacturers right here in America, and while we’ve historically used incentives to encourage the generation and the use of clean energy, we’ve never before taken that extra step to incentivize the actual manufacturing of the equipment used to generate clean energy here.
And there’s every reason to believe that this new output would be competitive both here and around the globe.
That’s what 48C does, and that’s why it’s so important that Congress enacts our proposed expansion of this program to help create the lasting opportunities working Americans need and deserve.
Jared Bernstein is Chief Economic Advisor to the Vice President
March 13, 2010
01:46 PM EDT
Every seat of the White House Movie Theater was taken by, in Tom Hanks' memorable words, "some sort of honcho and big shot" on Thursday evening for a screening of the first episode of HBO's new miniseries The Pacific. Produced by Hanks and Steven Spielberg, the 10 part series tells the story of the brave Americans who fought in the Pacific theater of World War II, a story not told by Hollywood as frequently as the European front. We've got a a behind-the-scenes video with the producing duo as they prepare to show the first hour of their work to a First audience. See an Academy Award winning producer and director turn his hand-held camera on us and the President:
A unique view of 2012