the WHITE HOUSEPresident Barack Obama

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The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release

Background on the President’s Events in Columbus, Ohio

BACKGROUND ON THE PRESIDENT’S EVENTS IN COLUMBUS, OHIO

KITCHEN TABLE CONVERSATION & BACKYARD DISCUSSION
10:40 AM EDT // 10:55 AM EDT
COLUMBUS, OHIO

Today, the President will meet with a local family in their home around the kitchen table before hosting a discussion on the economy with families from the area in the backyard. 

*Backgrounder on Recovery Act Investments in Ohio and the surrounding area.

BACKGROUND ON THE WEITHMAN FAMILY

Rhonda and Joe Weithman are Ohio natives who live in Columbus, Ohio with their two children (Rachel, age 9 and Josh, age 11).  Joe and his business partner, Bradley Mull, own a small firm, Mull & Weithman Architects, Inc., that saw a drop in business during the economic slowdown.  However, thanks to an increase in infrastructure projects, Joe was able to keep two employees on staff and is hopeful that he can soon hire an additional employee as the economy continues to improve.  After Rhonda lost her job in 2009, she was able to keep her health insurance due to COBRA subsidies from the Recovery Act; this was vital because she not only carried insurance for the family at that time but her son has a pre-existing condition.  Rhonda now works part time at Joe’s firm, and hopes to go back to full time work as the economy improves.

How Administration Policies have Helped the Weithman Family:

COBRA Subsidies from the Recovery Act: The Recovery Act established a 65 percent tax credit subsidy for COBRA health insurance benefits for involuntary unemployed workers. Rhonda benefited from these subsidies after she was laid off from her job.  This tied her over until she went to work for her husband and was covered under his plan. 

Investments in Local Infrastructure: Joe runs an architecture firm with five employees. He was able to keep two of their employees that otherwise would have been laid off due to work on a police station renovation that received infrastructure funding.  Joe is hopeful that he will hire an additional employee as the economy continues to improve and additional projects, some of which could be funded by the Recovery Act, are secured.

Pre-existing Conditions: With the passage of health care reform, if the Weithman’s shop for new insurance, their son will be able to get health care coverage despite his pre-existing condition.  The new law includes new rules to prevent insurance companies from denying coverage to children under the age of 19 due to a pre-existing condition. 

ELECTED OFFICIALS EXPECTED TO ATTEND

Governor Ted Strickland
US Senator Sherrod Brown
US Representative Mary Jo Kilroy
Lieutenant Governor Lee Fisher
Mayor Michael Coleman