Archive for November 21st, 2013

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Nov
13

Jazz Legend Arturo Sandoval Performs at the 2013 Medal of Freedom Awards

21
Nov
13

Democracy Wins The Day

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President Barack Obama talks about the U.S. Senate’s efforts to confirm his Administration’s nominees

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President Barack Obama signs S. 330, the HIV Organ Policy Equity Act, in the Oval Office of the White House

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President Barack Obama signs H.R. 2747: Streamlining Claims Processing for Federal Contractor Employees Act, and S. 893: Veterans Compensation Cost-of-Living Adjustment Act of 2013,

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President Barack Obama speaks to a group of educators being honored as ConnectED Champions of Change for taking creative approaches in using technology to enhance learning for students in communities across the country

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President Barack Obama checks hands with kids after speaking to a group of educators being honored as ConnectED Champions of Change

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21
Nov
13

President Barack Obama: Worst Socialist Ever

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Continue reading ‘President Barack Obama: Worst Socialist Ever’

21
Nov
13

140 Characters Of Everything

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Continue reading ‘140 Characters Of Everything’

21
Nov
13

A New Day

1:55 EST: President Obama delivers a statement

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Continue reading ‘A New Day’

21
Nov
13

Rise and Shine

On This Day: President Obama and his daughters Sasha and Malia pardon the 2012 National Thanksgiving Turkey Cobbler during a Rose Garden event at the White House, November 21

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Today (All Times Eastern):

1:0: Press Briefing by Josh Earnest

2:0: President Obama delivers remarks at a ConnectED Champions of Change event

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Steve Benen: ACA Slows Growth In Health Costs

It looks like the law’s many detractors will have to cross another complaint off their list. Health care spending since the 2010 passage of the Affordable Care Act has risen by 1.3% a year, the lowest rate ever recorded, and health care inflation is the lowest it has been in 50 years, a report released Wednesday by the White House shows.

How good are the number figures? According to a new report published by Jason Furman, chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers, over the last three years – the period since “Obamacare” became the law of the land – per capita health care spending has grown at a rate of 1.3%. “This is the lowest rate on record for any three-year period and less than one-third the long-term historical average stretching back to 1965,” Furman noted. Moreover, thanks to health care reform, inflation for health care goods and services is “currently running at just 1 percent on a year-over-year basis, the lowest level since January 1962.”

More here

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Mother Jones: So Far, Obamacare Has Taken Only A Modest Hit In The Polls

This isn’t very different from Kaiser tracking polls in the past. In the most recent one, among people who expressed an opinion, 56 percent wanted the law kept as is or enhanced, while 44 percent wanted it repealed.

So far, Obamacare hasn’t really taken that big a hit in public opinion, and as the website problems continue to get fixed I expect that public opinion will improve.

More here

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NYT: G.O.P. Maps Out Waves Of Attacks Over Health Law

The memo distributed to House Republicans this week was concise and blunt, listing talking points and marching orders: “Because of Obamacare, I Lost My Insurance.” “Obamacare Increases Health Care Costs.” “The Exchanges May Not Be Secure, Putting Personal Information at Risk.” “Continue Collecting Constituent Stories.”

The document, the product of a series of closed-door strategy sessions that began in mid-October, is part of an increasingly organized Republican attack on the Affordable Care Act, President Obama’s signature legislative initiative. Republican strategists say that over the next several months, they intend to keep Democrats on their heels through a multilayered, sequenced assault.

The idea is to gather stories of people affected by the health care law — through social media, letters from constituents, or meetings during visits back home — and use them to open a line of attack, keep it going until it enters the public discourse and forces a response, then quickly pivot to the next topic.

More here

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TPM: Reports: Obamacare Enrollment On The Rise

Obamacare enrollment seems to be recovering from its slow start and picking up in the last few weeks, according to news reports. The New York Times reported Monday that more than 50,000 Americans had selected a health plan through HealthCare.gov, the federal website serving 36 states, as of mid-November. That’s up from about 27,000 who had picked a plan over the entire month of October.

According to the Los Angeles Times, enrollment in some of the 15 state marketplaces is also on the upswing. In the first half of November, California has nearly doubled its enrollment in all of October. In the Minnesota, the rate of enrollment in the second half of October was triple what it had been in the first half of the month. State officials in Connecticut, Kentucky and Washington told the Times that they were on pace to beat their enrollment goals and/or top last month’s enrollment.

More here

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Reuters: U.S. Jobless Claims Fall, Hint At Firming Labor Market

The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits fell more than expected last week, suggesting some strengthening of labor market conditions. Initial claims for state unemployment benefits dropped 21,000 to a seasonally adjusted 323,000, the Labor Department said on Thursday. Economists polled by Reuters had expected first-time applications to fall to 335,000 last week. The four-week moving average for new claims, which irons out week-to-week volatility, fell 6,750 to 338,500.

More here

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Justin Sink: Obama Announces $100M In Education Grants For High School Students

President Obama will announce $100 million in education grants for high school students. The government will award as many as 40 grants to fund the Youth CareerConnect program, which is designed to partner high schools with colleges and employers.  “Many high school graduates lack exposure to learning that links their work in school to college and careers — especially in the critically important fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics,” the White House said in a statement.

The program will be paid for primarily from Department of Labor revenues from the H-1B visa program. To qualify, local school districts will need to match 25 percent of the federal grant, as well as recruit a local workforce investment system entity, an employer, and an institution of higher education to partner in the program. The first wave of programs will be implemented for the 2014-15 school year.

More here

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AP: US Unemployment Benefit Applications Drop To 323K

The number of people applying for U.S. unemployment benefits fell 21,000 to a seasonally adjusted 323,000 last week, the lowest since late September and further evidence of an improving job market. The Labor Department says the less volatile four-week average fell for the third straight week to 338,500.

Both figures are near pre-recession levels. Hiring is also picking up. Employers added an average of 202,000 jobs per month from August through October. That’s up sharply from an average of 146,000 in May through July.

More here

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Jason Furman: New Report From The Council Of Economic Advisers: The Recent Slowdown In Health Care Cost Growth And The Role Of The Affordable Care Act

Health care spending is growing at the slowest rate on record: According to the most recent projections, real per capita health care spending has grown at an estimated average annual rate of just 1.3 percent over the three years since 2010. This is the lowest rate on record for any three-year period and less than one-third the long-term historical average stretching back to 1965. This slower growth in spending is reflected in Medicare, Medicaid, and private insurance.

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The ACA is contributing to the recent slow growth in health care prices and spending and is improving quality of care: ACA provisions that reduce Medicare overpayments to private insurers and medical providers are contributing to the recent slow growth in health care prices and spending.  Other ACA reforms are reducing hospital readmission rates (see figure below) and increasing provider participation in payment models designed to promote efficient, high-quality care.

More here

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Jon Favreau: President Obama Should Never Apologize For Passing Obamacare

It’s true what they say: Barack Obama does not relish the game of politics. Don’t get me wrong—as the first president in more than five decades to win more than 51 percent of the vote twice, he understands how the game is played. But Obama did not run for elected office because he needed to be loved. He has his family and friends for that, and he lacks the insecurity that lies just beneath the healthy egos of so many politicians. This president does not crave constant affirmation, which means he does not engage easily in the backslapping and glad-handling and forced emoting that comes so naturally to other elected officials.

But the president should never apologize for passing the Affordable Care Act, and neither should those of us who have supported this kind of reform for years, even decades. We didn’t fight for this law because it was good politics. We didn’t fight for this law with the hope that it would lead to some ideological victory for big government—otherwise we wouldn’t have proposed a plan that maintained the private insurance market with reforms that Republicans once championed.

We fought for this law because no other advanced democracy on Earth gave insurance companies free rein to profit by discriminating against all but the healthiest and wealthiest citizens. We fought for this law because 14,000 Americans, most of them working and middle class, were losing their health insurance every day—with no other options. We fought for this law because millions of other Americans thought they had decent coverage until their insurance company refused to pay for treatment that someone in their family desperately needed; because people died as a direct result of not being able to afford better health care. The reason we fought so hard for this law—the reason Obama is willing to stake his entire legacy on making it work—is because so many of us have had a personal experience with the fear and vulnerability that comes with being sick.

More here

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On This Day:

President Obama looks at a photograph of Kate Puzey as he greets her brother, David Puzey, and other guests in the Oval Office, Nov. 21, 2011. The President signed the Kate Puzey Peace Corps Volunteer Protection Act of 2011, which improves the preventative measures and the response of the Peace Corps in cases of crime and sexual assault of Peace Corps volunteers (Photo by Pete Souza)

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First Lady Michelle Obama talks with Darius Rucker, Kris Kristofferson and Lisa Meyers in the Old Family Dining Room of the White House before “The History of Country Music: From Barn Dances to Pop Charts” interactive workshop for local students, Nov. 21, 2011 ( Photo by Lawrence Jackson)

Dierks Bentley performs during the “Country Music: In Performance at the White House” concert in the East Room, Nov. 21, 2011 (Photo by Pete Souza)

President Obama and Vice President Biden talk with First Lady Michelle Obama in the Oval Office, Nov. 21, 2011 (Photo by Pete Souza)

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President Obama, along with First Lady Michelle, daughters Sasha and Malia, and Craig Robinson, participates in a service project at the Capital Area Food Bank in Washington, D.C., Nov. 21, 2012 (Photo by Pete Souza)

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21
Nov
13

Early Bird Chat

Nov. 21, 2011 – Pete Souza: “The President reacts jokingly after the First Lady in her remarks called Jill Biden, ‘my favorite person here,’ despite the fact that her husband was standing next to her.”

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Continue reading ‘Early Bird Chat’




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