Dr. Jill BidenMarch 25, 2011
12:12 PM EDT
This past Wednesday, I attended the Department of Education’s third of four regional community college summits at Ivy Tech Community College in Indianapolis. These summits are being held across the country to follow up on the first-ever White House Summit on Community Colleges hosted by the President and Dr. Biden at the White House last October. As Dr. Biden said then, the White House Summit was only the beginning of our national outreach and efforts to demonstrate how community colleges are critical to educating the best, most competitive workforce in the world.
This week’s summit focused on the ways community colleges are partnering with businesses across the country to develop training and education programs that meet business and regional economic needs. Participants heard from several industry representatives about how they value a community college education, and how they are working to make sure their employees succeed both in the workplace and in the classroom.
March 25, 2011
09:20 AM EDT
A year ago, young adults were one of the most vulnerable groups of Americans in the health insurance market. However, since the Affordable Care Act was signed into law, many of you can now stay on your parent’s family plan until you turn 26. It doesn’t matter whether you’re married, living with your parents, in school, or financially independent. This is a huge improvement that is freeing people to make decisions about their education, their careers, and their lives without being hemmed in by outdated insurance rules.
Before President Obama signed the health law, you typically had to go off your parent’s plan at 19 or whenever you left school. This put many young people in a tight spot, especially if they were living with a pre-existing condition like cancer, diabetes, or asthma—since it was very hard to get quality, affordable health insurance. Now, thanks to the Affordable Care Act, the class of 2011 will be the first to graduate with this new option on the books. Already, nearly 1.2 million young Americans will be able to gain insurance coverage this year as a result. This means as you start your career, you can pursue the jobs or opportunities that are best for you without worrying about health insurance.
Arun ChaudharyMarch 25, 2011
12:00 AM EDT
Welcome to the West Wing Week, your guide to everything that's happening at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. This week, President Obama remained focused on Libya, receiving secure communications from his national security team as the first family visited Latin America. The President made stops in Brazil, Chile, and El Salvador to promote American exports and economic cooperation among the neighbors in our hemisphere.
March 24, 2011
04:23 PM EDT
Ed. Note: Crossposted from the NASA blog.
In his State of the Union Address, President Obama said, “What America does better than anyone – is spark the creativity and imagination of our people. We are the nation that put cars in driveways and computers in offices; the nation of Edison and the Wright brothers; of Google and Facebook. In America, innovation doesn’t just change our lives. It’s how we make a living.”
Nobody knows that better than those of us associated with NASA. Spaceflight today would not exist without the spark of innovation that drove us to build rockets and computers and robots. And small businesses helped us achieve our greatest missions.
Small businesses have always been an integral part of NASA. Small businesses have built parts for launch vehicles and planetary science missions, they help us manage our facilities and our data and help keep our organization running smoothly. Small business is crucial not only to NASA, but to the nation. And federal procurement opportunities for women, minority, veteran-owned and small businesses are critical to the economy and to sustaining economic development.
Valerie JarrettMarch 24, 2011
11:57 AM EDT
This week, we’re celebrating the one year anniversary of the Affordable Care Act, a historic advancement for the health care of women and their families. Without this historic piece of legislation, insurance companies could continue to deny coverage to women due to pre-existing conditions, such as cancer and pregnancy. Women could continue to be charged more than men for insurance, simply because of their gender. And, too many women and families could continue to go without the affordable, quality care they deserved. Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, that’s all changing.
Under the law, insurance companies are already banned from denying coverage to children because of a pre-existing condition. In 2014, it will be illegal for insurance companies to discriminate against anyone with a pre-existing condition.
As a single mom of a twenty-five year old daughter, I understand the uncertainty that many families face as their children try to enter the workforce during these tough economic times. Before the Affordable Care Act, children could be left uninsured, as soon as they graduated from college, while searching for work. Under the Act’s new provisions, children can stay on their parents’ heath care plans until they turn twenty-six. This rule applies in almost all cases, regardless of whether your child is living at home, enrolled in school, or a married college graduate.
March 24, 2011
11:00 AM EDT
Yesterday, Director of the National Economic Council, Gene Sperling and SBA Administrator, Karen Mills, along with Fast Company Editor Nancy Cook, hosted a live chat to answer your questions about the Startup America initiative and ways to reduce burdens to entrepreneurship and innovation. The White House launched the Startup America initiative to celebrate, inspire and accelerate high-growth entrepreneurship around the country. As part of the effort, senior Administration officials are traveling around the country for Startup America: Reducing Barriers Roundtables.
Check out the full video below or skip to the questions you're interested in by using the links below:
Valerie JarrettMarch 24, 2011
09:41 AM EDT
Last July, I had the tremendous honor of kicking off the Administration’s observance of the 20th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and to then welcome hundreds to the White House as President Obama commemorated that extraordinary Anniversary. It was a momentous occasion as we listened to the President’s powerful speech and witnessed the signing of his Executive Order to increase the federal government’s employment of individuals with disabilities. As Americans, we’re imbued with those fantastic American values, embodied in the ADA, of a strong work ethic and working together to find common ground--all of which keeps us moving forward, diligently working to win the future.
Today, those American values are once again on display. With bi-partisan support, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) found common ground and today made available for public viewing final Rules on the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act (ADAAA) at http://www.ofr.gov and the rule will be published tomorrow. Significantly, the EEOC considered the interests of both employees with disabilities and employers in carefully crafting regulations that will work for all stakeholders. Now, millions of Americans with disabilities, including veterans with disabilities, will be able to take one step closer to that level playing field we all seek and have the full opportunity to contribute to one of America’s greatest traditions: hard work.
Secretary Kathleen SebeliusMarch 24, 2011
09:41 AM EDT
The Affordable Care Act is bringing much needed changes to the insurance market for women. For too long, too many women could not get the affordable, high quality coverage they deserved. Some insurance companies considered simply being a woman a “pre-existing condition” and charged more or covered less. Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, that’s all changing and women and their families are eligible for important new benefits that will ensure they have access to better care at a lower cost.
Women with insurance will benefit from the law. If you are in a new insurance plan, you can choose the primary care doctor or OB-GYN in your insurer’s network without a referral. Go to your insurer’s website or call the customer service number to find out which providers are in your network.
Recommended preventive services, like mammograms and flu shots, are now available at no out-of-pocket costs to you, if you are in a new insurance plan. This means that your insurance company cannot charge you a deductible or copays. Click here to find a list of preventive services that will be covered.
Sarah BernardMarch 23, 2011
09:20 PM EDT
Last August, in honor of Women’s Equality Day and the 90th anniversary of the 19th Amendment, we had a thoughtful conversation with the BlogHer community about how far women have come since gaining the right to vote in 1920. And given the recent release of the new White House report, “Women in America: Indicators of Social and Economic Well-Being”, we thought it would be an opportune time to revisit the conversation.
On Wednesday, March 30, join White House Senior Advisor Valerie Jarrett, Chair of the White House Council on Women and Girls, and Preeta Bansal, General Counsel and Senior Policy Advisor in the U.S. Office of Management and Budget, for a discussion with Shine about women in the workplace, education and work-life balance.
So that means….
Submit your questions for Valerie Jarrett and Preeta Bansal here.
Kori SchulmanMarch 23, 2011
01:09 PM EDT
President Obama released the following statement on the bombing in Jerusalem today:
I condemn in the strongest possible terms the bombing in Jerusalem today, as well as the rockets and mortars fired from Gaza in recent days. Together with the American people, I offer my deepest condolences for those injured or killed. There is never any possible justification for terrorism. The United States calls on the groups responsible to end these attacks at once and we underscore that Israel, like all nations, has a right to self-defense. We also express our deepest condolences for the deaths of Palestinian civilians in Gaza yesterday. We stress the importance of calm and urge all parties to do everything in their power to prevent further violence and civilian casualties.
Nancy-Ann DeParleMarch 23, 2011
12:51 PM EDT
When President Obama signed the health reform law, the Affordable Care Act, on March 23, 2010, it was a moment that was decades in the making. Presidents from both parties had attempted to reform our health care system and as President Obama said, he wasn’t the first President to try and pass health reform, but he was determined to be the last.
This year, Vice President Biden has recorded a new video looking at the work to pass reform and how the law is already helping the American people.
Brian LevineMarch 23, 2011
11:59 AM EDT
College access and affordability has been a key area of focus for the Middle Class Task Force over the last two years. On this blog, we have frequently updated you on our Administration’s commitment to expanding student aid through Pell Grants and the American Opportunity Tax Credit.
Providing every American child with the opportunity to go to college is critically important, but we can’t stop there. We need more American students to graduate from college. The President has set a clear goal: By 2020, America will have the highest proportion of college graduates in the world. Right now we are ninth.
70 percent of students go on to pursue some kind of postsecondary education after high school, but less than half actually get a degree or certificate within 6 years. Why is this so important? Because more than half of all new jobs created in the next decade will require a postsecondary degree. And college graduates make more money and are less likely to be unemployed than individuals with only a high school diploma. Ensuring that more students graduate from college is essential to maintaining a strong middle class.
Today the Vice President challenged every Governor to host a state college completion summit, and promised that the Department of Education would help any state develop a plan to boost completion.
March 23, 2011
09:56 AM EDT
On his trip to Latin America, President Obama highlighted the theme of partnership and echoed President Kennedy’s challenge “to build a hemisphere where all people can hope for a sustainable, suitable standard of living, and all can live out their lives in dignity and in freedom.”
One of the modern challenges for Latin American countries like El Salvador is addressing the grip of gangs and criminal organization on local communities, especially on young people. One of the ways that USAID works to address youth issues in Central America is by partnering with local organizations and governments to invest in crime and drug prevention programs.
To highlight the need to engage youth and harness their potential for positive development, First Lady Michelle Obama visited the site of a USAID project called ¡Supérate! in San Salvador.
Accompanied by USAID Administrator Raj Shah, the first lady helped 30 enthusiastic ¡Supérate! students complete their community service project by painting a mural to decorate the center’s health clinic, which is scheduled to open next month.
Aneesh ChopraMarch 23, 2011
09:24 AM EDT
Ed. Note: As part of the Startup America: Reducing Barriers Roundtable series, National Economic Council Director Gene Sperling and U.S. Small Business Administrator Karen Mills will take your questions and suggestions about what processes and regulations we need to adjust to foster a more nurturing environment for entrepreneurship and innovation. Watch and participate today at 12:00pm EDT on whitehouse.gov/live.
I had the pleasure yesterday of sitting down with nearly 100 leading entrepreneurs, investors, underwriters, academics, and fund managers—including Chuck Newhall, the legendary co-Founder of one of the Nation’s most prestigious venture capital firms, New Enterprise Associates—at the Treasury Department’s Access to Capital Conference. The event was one of a number of creative forums the Administration has held to generate new, actionable ideas to ensure that small businesses have the resources to achieve high growth.
The event built on President Obama’s January launch of Startup America, an initiative to celebrate, inspire, and accelerate high-growth American entrepreneurship that includes a number of commitments to expand access to capital for entrepreneurs. Capital, invested by the private sector, is what helps entrepreneurs realize their dreams and turn ideas into startups, and it’s what turns small businesses into fast-growing companies that create jobs and fuel sustainable economic growth.
At yesterday’s conference, we took an important step forward in that mission with an open and honest dialogue about how best to cultivate investment and growth. And we made real progress.
March 23, 2011
09:23 AM EDT
Ed. note: This was originally posted on the HealthCare.gov blog.
A year ago today, President Obama signed the landmark Affordable Care Act into law. In just one year, the law has already given Americans more freedom and control over their health care choices and insurance companies no longer call all the shots. Now, you and your family may be eligible for important new benefits that will ensure you get the care you need at a more reasonable cost.
Here are some of the benefits you’ll get as a result of the new law:
New Coverage Choices
- Most young adults can stay on their parent’s family plan until they turn 26. It doesn’t matter whether you’re married, living with your parents, in school, or financially independent. For more information on how to stay insured, call the customer service number for your parent’s insurer and explain your situation. Or visit Facebook.gov/YoungAdultCoverage to learn more.
- Most health plans cannot deny coverage to children under age 19 because of pre-existing conditions like cancer or cerebral palsy.
- If you have been uninsured because of a pre-existing condition, you may be eligible to join the more than 12,000 Americans insured through the Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan. To find out about plans available in your State, visit: www.pcip.gov.
New Benefits if You Have Insurance
- If you are in a new insurance plan, insurance companies cannot charge you a deductible or copays for recommended preventive services, like mammograms, flu shots and other immunizations. Click here to find a list of preventive services that will be covered without cost-sharing.
- Insurance companies are prohibited from capping the dollar amount of care you can receive in a lifetime, or cancelling your coverage due to a mistake on your application when you get sick.
New Benefits for People with Medicare
- Seniors and other people with Medicare can get many preventive services and an annual wellness visit with no deductible, coinsurance, or co-payment. More than 150,000 seniors and individuals with disabilities with Medicare have received an annual wellness visit in the first two months of the year.
- Seniors and others who are in the Medicare prescription drug coverage gap known as the donut hole now receive a 50% discount on covered brand name prescription drugs and 7 percent off prices for generic drugs. In 2010, nearly 4 million seniors and individuals with disabilities with Medicare received a one-time $250 rebate check to help with high prescription drugs costs.
This is only the beginning of a transformation of our health care system that puts you in the driver's seat. For more information on how you can get these benefits, visit our Better Benefits, Better Health Initiative.
Richard Sorian is Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs at the Department of Health and Human Services.
Jesse LeeMarch 22, 2011
08:38 PM EDT
Amidst so many crises and tragedies around the world, there was one unequivocal step forward for the human rights of all people today. The UN gave a pivotal recognition to the rights of LGBT persons around the world, a move the US pushed hard to build the consensus for as Press Secretary Jay Carney said in a statement just out:
President Obama believes that advancing the human rights of minorities and the marginalized is a fundamental American value. The President was pleased to announce during his trip to Brazil that he and President Rousseff agreed to promote respect for the human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals through the establishment of a special rapporteur on LGBT issues at the Organization of American States. This special rapporteur will be the first of its kind in the international system.
Over the past months our diplomats have been engaged in frank, and at times difficult, conversations about the human rights of LGBT persons with governments from around world. This morning, at the United Nations Human Rights Council, some 85 countries joined the United States in reaffirming our joint commitment to end acts of violence and human rights abuses on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. The President is proud of the work we have done to build international consensus on this critical issue and is committed to continuing our determined efforts to advance the human rights of all people, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity.
Jesse LeeMarch 22, 2011
08:11 PM EDT
As he has in previous stops during his trip to Latin America, the President was asked today in El Salvador with President Funes about the ongoing situation in Libya. And once again, having spoken at length about the importance of America's relationship with the host country in the context of his vision for strengthened relationships throughout the hemisphere, the President took the time to give a thorough update on developments and give all due credit to our men an women in uniform.
The first questions on Libya related to the leadership roles within the coalition of partners and the downed aircraft that many Americans were concerned about:
Melody BarnesMarch 22, 2011
06:14 PM EDT
Last week, through our Advise the Advisor program, I asked parents, teachers, and students about how they’re sharing the responsibility in preparing our students for the 21st Century.
Thousands of you—from teachers, students, and parents to grandparents, concerned citizens, and others—sent us ideas about our education system. A team here reviewed every submission. We want to share some of those submissions, and some thoughts.
Samantha PowerMarch 22, 2011
04:09 PM EDT
Ed. Note: Last week, we celebrated Sunshine Week here in America. It goes without saying that technology has fundamentally impacted how government works around the world. Samantha Power, Senior Director and Special Assistant for Multilateral Affairs and Human Rights, highlights similar good government efforts underway in countries around the world.
While “Sunshine Week” may be an American invention, the momentum for greater transparency and accountability in government is a global phenomenon. In countries around the world, governments and civil society groups are taking new and creative steps to ensure that government delivers for citizens and to strengthen democratic accountability.
President Obama witnessed this extraordinary innovation first-hand during his trip to India in November. He attended the first-ever “Expo on Democracy and Open Government” and sampled the ways in which technology was being used by Indian citizens and civil society groups to expose corruption. One group showed him the way Indians could use a simple SMS code to obtain background knowledge on political candidates – their financial assets, any criminal backgrounds, etc. He also saw a ground-breaking website, www.ipaidabribe.com, where Indians posted their tales of having been forced to pay a bribe, in refusing to pay a bribe, and in “not having to pay a bribe” – stories celebrating Indian public servants’ refusal to succumb to corruption.
Kalpen ModiMarch 22, 2011
04:00 PM EDT
One year ago tomorrow, President Obama signed the Affordable Care Act into law. It was a historic day, and the law is already making a difference in the lives of millions of Americans like Erick Moberg.
Erick is currently a senior at Michigan State University and his dream is to attend medical school at his grandfather’s alma mater in Missouri. Erick was always interested in medicine, but he was inspired after speaking to the doctors who treated his mother when she had quadruple bypass surgery.
After he graduates this spring, Erick will be taking a year to enhance his skills and prepare his application. Under the old insurance rules, he would have been forced off his parent’s health insurance plan. But now, thanks to the Affordable Care Act, Erick will be able to stay on his mother’s plan.
We interviewed Erick, and as he told his story, he received a surprise phone call from President Obama.
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