First Lady Michelle Obama visits with families working on crafts at Maryland Fisher House IV at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Md., April 14, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)
First Lady Michelle Obama meets with six-month-old Kyleigh Garmon, and her mother Megan Garmon, from Alabama, during her visit to the Wounded Warriors being cared for at the Fisher House at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Md.
First Lady Michelle Obama has stickers placed on her face by 20-month-old Lily Oppelt, as her parents Amy and Sgt. Lucas Oppelt, far right, from Indiana, watch during her visit with Wounded Warriors being cared for at the Fisher House at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Md., The First Lady is participating in a pre-Easter celebration with military families and their children. The Fisher House provides extend stay housing program for family members while their loved ones receiving specialized medical care at Walter Reed.
More than 12 million people will gain health insurance under the Affordable Care Act this year, according to new projections released by the Congressional Budget Office Monday. And millions more stand to benefit from the law over the next decade.
At the same time, the law’s costs to the federal government are shrinking. According to the new projections, the federal government will spend more than $100 billion less on Obamacare’s coverage provisions through 2024 than previously projected. That includes a downward estimate of about $5 billion this year. Overall, spending on the federal and state insurance exchanges are projected to cost 14% less than originally forecast.
On This Day: First Lady Michelle Obama greets children during her visit to a school, Escuela Siete de Enero, in Mexico City, Mexico, April 14, 2010 (Photo by Samantha Appleton)
Today (all times Eastern):
9:30 AM: The President hosts an Easter Prayer Breakfast, East Room
1:0: Jay Carney briefs the press
The Week Ahead
Tuesday: The President and the First Lady will mark the beginning of Passover with a Seder at the White House with friends and staff.
Wednesday: President Obama and Vice President Biden will travel to Leetsdale, Pennsylvania for an event on the economy.
Thursday: The President will welcome the Wounded Warrior Project’s Soldier Ride to the White House in celebration of the eighth annual Soldier Ride.
Friday: The President will meet with the National Commander and Executive Director of the American Legion. Later, he will welcome the United States Naval Academy Football Team to the White House to present them with the 2013 Commander-in-Chief’s Trophy.
Many enrollees are thankful for Obamacare coverage. CNNMoney looks at some of the success stories.
Name: Kathy Bentzoni, 58
I started feeling sick in January, but I thought driving a school bus, I was picking up whatever the kids had. But when I was checking the school bus early in the morning in the cold, all my fingers would go numb.
I had signed up for health insurance early enough to get coverage for Jan. 1. I had to drop my old, useless insurance back in November because I could no longer afford the premiums. The insurer denied every claim I sent in because they said it was a pre-existing condition. That’s the wonder of Obamacare … they can’t say that anymore.
I have a Highmark Blue Shield silver plan. I pay $55 for the premium with the tax credit. I almost cried when I saw it. I thought ‘Oh my god, I can actually afford this. It’s amazing!”
On March 1, I had to go the ER. They found my hemoglobin level was 5.7, and the normal is 14. I needed a transfusion. It was due to a rare blood disorder.
Where would I be without Obamacare? ER, 3 units of blood, multiple tests in the hospital and a 5-day inpatient stay without insurance? Probably dead.
Brian Beutler: Democrats Need to Start Blaming the GOP for the Death of Charlene Dill
How liberals should talk about the Medicaid expansion
On Wednesday, the Orlando Weekly published the explosive and infuriating story of Charlene Dill, a struggling, 32 year old mother of three who collapsed and died on a stranger’s floor late last month. According to Weekly reporter Billy Manes, Dill suffered from a treatable heart condition. She also fell into what policy experts call the Medicaid coverage gap — a hole the Supreme Court punctured in the health safety net when seven of its justices rendered the Affordable Care Act’s Medicaid expansion entirely voluntary.
Over 20 Republican state governments have ripped that hole wide open by refusing billions of federal dollars, offered on the sole condition that they be used to insure residents who earn less than 138 percent of the federal poverty level. In their states, residents who weren’t previously eligible for Medicaid, but currently earn too little to qualify for subsidies to purchase private insurance, are out of luck. Experts estimate that five million people nationwide have fallen into the gap. Nearly a million of those people reside in Florida alone — collateral damage in the GOP’s war against Obamacare. Dill was one of those people. She was selling a vacuum cleaner to earn the money she needed to buy her heart medication when she collapsed.
ThinkProgress: Kathleen Sebelius’ Biggest Achievement Is The One No One Is Talking About
Kathleen Sebelius wasn’t President Obama’s first choice to run the Department of Health and Human Services and oversee the passage and implementation of health care reform. But after Sen. Tom Daschle (D-SD) dropped out, Obama tapped the two-term Kansas governor and former state insurance commissioner. Sebelius didn’t have much D.C. experience, but had an impressive track record of working across the aisle as a Democratic governor in a red state.
And while the united GOP opposition to health legislation eventually overwhelmed any goodwill Sebelius had built up within the Republican party and the rocky rollout of Obamacare has come to dominate the discussion of her tenure as secretary, that bipartisan quality proved essential to the implementation of the law. Sebelius leaves the office having enrolled some 10 million people in health care coverage. This was only possible because she convinced numerous Republican lawmakers in bright red states to extend health care coverage to the poorest Americans. No one is talking about it, but it is her biggest and most impressive achievement as secretary.
Six months ago, global finance officials meeting in Washington berated the U.S. for failing to put its fiscal house in order. This time, the critics were silent.
The Congressional Budget Office is projecting the 2014 deficit will be the lowest in six years and down more than 60 percent from the record $1.4 trillion in 2009. With the annual April 15 tax filing deadline looming, the U.S. has received about $80 billion more in income taxes this fiscal year than it had 12 months earlier.
The Treasury’s coffers are swelling as the almost five-year economic expansion gains momentum, generating more corporate and personal income-tax revenue and reducing spending on social services. Stronger growth, in turn, will depend less on government spending to fuel growth than it has in the past.
It’s easy to get inured to stories about voting restrictions. The imposition of new hurdles, intended to keep more Americans from participating in their own democracy, has been ongoing for about three years, and the tactics have become so common in so much of the country, maintaining a sense of outrage is simply exhausting.
But common or not, the outrageousness hasn’t changed. The very idea that a major political party in a modern democracy has decided to give itself an electoral advantage by systemically and deliberately blocking voter access should be called what it is: a genuine national scandal.
Given this, it was heartening to see the issue get the spotlight by way of the president’s bully pulpit.
ThinkProgress: The 3 Most Sobering Graphics From The U.N.’s New Climate Report
The overall message of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s newest report is simple: a rapid shift to renewable energy is needed to avert catastrophic global warming. The science behind that message, however, is less simple.
In an attempt to make the message more clear, the IPCC’s report — produced by 1250 international experts and approved by every major government in the world — uses a number of charts to get its point across. Though the charts themselves are very complex, they provide a way to visualize increases in human-caused greenhouse gases, where those gases come from, and what they could do to our climate.
Here are three of the most sobering charts from that report, and what they tell us about the state of our warming world….
President Obama says his administration will assist in the investigation of the Kansas shooting that left three people dead at a Jewish community center and retirement complex.
“I want to offer my condolences to all the families trying to make sense of this difficult situation, and pledge the full support from the federal government as we heal and cope during this trying time,” Obama said in a statement.
The president, who called the shootings “horrific” and “heartbreaking,” said that he and first last Michelle Obama “offer our thoughts and prayers to the families and friends who lost a loved one and everyone affected by this tragedy.”
A white supremacist and former Ku Klux Klan member has been arrested and charged with the shooting.
With Congress deadlocked and incapable of addressing mounting economic inequality, cities and states are doing what they can to pick up the slack.
On Friday, the Minnesota House approved raising the state minimum wage to $9.50 per hour. According to the National Employment Law Project (NELP), it’s the fifth state to hike the minimum wage this year, following Delaware, West Virginia, Connecticut and Maryland, which just approved its hike earlier this week.
Two aspects of the Minnesota bill make it especially helpful for low-wage workers.
The shared belief that if you have the grit to work hard, there should be no ceiling to your potential, is what binds us together as Kentuckians. We are people who reward ingenuity and industry. We celebrate success, and believe in the virtue of a job well done.
But the hard truth today is that far too many families in the commonwealth are struggling to make ends meet. The promise that every Kentuckian has a chance at working their way into the middle class is fading. The rich are getting richer, while many Kentuckians live below the poverty level.
President Obama and the First Lady with daughters Malia and Sasha and their new dog Bo on the South Lawn of the White House, April 14, 2009
First Lady Michelle Obama visits the Department of Homeland Security in Washington D.C, April 14, 2009 (Photo by Samantha Appleton)
President Obama meets with Jon Favreau Director of Speechwriting in the Oval Office to review a speech April 14, 2009 (Photo by Pete Souza)
First Lady Michelle Obama gives an address to students at Universidad Iberoamericana, April 14, 2010
President Obama hugs country music artist Garth Brooks in a West Wing hallway at the White House, April 14, 2010. The President was presented with the 2007 Grammy Award for best spoken word album for his book “The Audacity of Hope” (Photo by Pete Souza)
President Obama meets with senior advisors in the Oval Office, April 14, 2010 (Photo by Pete Souza)
President Obama meets with bipartisan leaders of the House and Senate, including from left, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., House Republican Leader John A. Boehner, R-Ohio, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., and Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., to discuss Wall Street reform, in the Cabinet Room of the White House, April 14, 2010 (Photo by Pete Souza)
President Obama walks through the Rose Garden of the White House with National Security Advisor Tom Donilon, April 14, 2011 (Photo by Pete Souza)
President Obama gives gifts to Make-a-Wish child Kai Dunbar, third from left, and her family, during their visit to the Oval Office, April 14, 2011. Pictured, from left, are: Kai’s mother, Kimberly Dunbar; father, Kem Dunbar; sister, Kacie Dunbar; and brother, Kem Dunbar II (Photo by Pete Souza)
President Obama puts on a Chicago Bulls hat and waves to the crowd after delivering remarks at a 2012 campaign event at Navy Pier in Chicago on April 14, 2011
President Obama delivers remarks at a 2012 campaign event at Navy Pier in Chicago on April 14, 2011
President Obama meets with President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner of Argentina during the Summit of the Americas in Cartagena, Colombia, April 14, 2012 (Photo by Pete Souza)
President Obama at the CEO Summit of the Americas, in Cartagena, Colombia, April 14, 2012