The First Family: Malia Obama, Sasha Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama, and President Barack Obama, with White House photographer Pete Souza at right, return from a hike at Great Falls Park in Great Falls, Virginia
Stacy A. Anderson: First Hikers: Obama Family Walks The Trails Of Great Falls Park Near Potomac River
President Barack Obama is wrapping up a leisurely weekend with his family. Obama, wife Michelle and daughters Malia and Sasha took a walk Sunday along trails just outside Washington at Great Falls Park in Virginia. He also visited the park along the Potomac River last June. The president greeted two eager children and took a selfie with an onlooker before starting along the woody trail. The 50-minute trek concluded as a light drizzle began.
Underlining a change across the nation, nearly 9 out of 10 adults now say they have health insurance, according to an extensive survey released Monday. As recently as 2013, slightly more than 8 out of 10 had coverage. The Gallup-Healthways survey found that the share of adults who lack insurance dropped to 11.9 percent for the first three months of this year, the lowest level since that survey began its tracking in 2008. The latest update overlaps with the period when the health law’s second sign-up season was winding down. Coverage gains from 2014-2015 translate to about 3.6 million fewer adults uninsured since the fall, before open enrollment got under way, according to Gallup. “The Affordable Care Act had three major objectives: increase coverage, slow the rate of increase in costs, and improve health,” said Dan Witters, research director for the poll.
“The first one is clearly a win. Coverage is increasing; there is no question about it.” On balance, an estimated 14.75 million adults have gained coverage since the fall of 2013, when the law’s first open enrollment season was about to begin, according to Gallup. Hispanics saw the biggest coverage gains of any ethnic or racial group. The uninsured rate dropped 8.3 points among Latinos since the end of 2013. Recent gains in coverage have benefited people up and down the income ladder. But the most notable improvement has been among those making less than $36,000 a year, a group that traditionally struggled to get and keep health insurance. Their uninsured rate dropped 8.7 points since the end of 2013.
Amy Lynn Smith: Having Faced A Medical Bankruptcy, Republican Has A Change Of Heart About The ACA
When health insurance became available through Healthcare.gov last year, Theresa had her doubts about the Affordable Care Act (ACA). As a fiercely independent small business owner — and a Republican — the only news she saw about Obamacare was negative. Theresa says she’s grateful she didn’t listen to the people who told her Obamacare was “bullsh*t.” Through Healthcare.gov, she found a Silver plan for just $94 per month, with the help of tax credits. About six years ago, Theresa had polyps on her vocal cords and her doctor told her if she didn’t have surgery she could choke on them or bleed to death. Plus, there was a chance the polyps could turn cancerous.
Theresa didn’t have a choice, but without insurance her surgeons demanded payment in advance. She says the surgery and subsequent care cost her “tens of thousands of dollars.” Fortunately, starting in January 2015 Theresa will have health insurance that’s accepted by all her doctors, with a $700 annual deductible and $1,450 out-of-pocket maximum limit. It will cost her just a $20 co-pay to see her primary physician and $50 to see a specialist. She can’t wait to schedule all her check-ups, including the necessary follow-up on the remaining polyps she couldn’t afford to have removed.
Cindi Leive: Michelle Obama, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Kerry Washington: The Important Cause Bringing Three Powerhouse Women Together
First Lady Michelle Obama and actresses Sarah Jessica Parker and Kerry Washington are sitting in the Blue Room at the White House. This trio of female forces, who know one another through their work on the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities, aren’t here just to catch up on life. They’re here today to spread a crucial message: This Memorial Day, America’s servicewomen, veterans, and military wives—courageous women—need our help. Over a decade ago, during the height of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, our servicemen and -women were constantly in the public eye, in newspapers, music videos, car commercials. Today, most of the more than 2.5 million men and women who deployed are home safe—but they deserve just as much attention as when they were braving IEDs and insurgents.
During this reentry period, advocates point out, many veterans face hardships (from homelessness and unemployment to post-traumatic stress disorder and the effects of sexual trauma), and we can’t underestimate the support they need. MO: One thing I want to clarify—that every service member, veteran, wants us to remember—is that the vast majority of people returning from service come back completely healthy…. But when we do come across someone who is struggling…we have to develop a culture of open arms and acceptance so that they feel comfortable saying, “I’m a veteran. And by the way, I need little help.” Think about the amount of training the average veteran has received through the military—physical training, project management training, public relations work. Think of an average tour of duty in a foreign land, the money we put into developing that, and then they’re discharged, and what, we let that investment go? Absolutely not. These are some of the best-trained people in our society.
First Lady Michelle Obama participates in the unveiling of the Maya Angelou Forever Stamp, at the Warner Theater in Washington. From left are, Eleanor Traylor, English Professor at Howard University; poet Nikki Giovanni; Mrs. Obama; Postmaster General Megan Brennan; Oprah Winfrey, and artist Ross Rossin
Maya Angelou would have been 87 years old day, and to commemorate her birthday we celebrate everything the author, activist and creative force accomplished in her nearly one century on earth. Though best known for her 1969 memoir I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, which became the first non-fiction bestseller by a Black woman, Angelou’s talents and achievements run deep. She is a Grammy winner (for Best Spoken Word Album in 1994), a filmmaker (Down in the Delta, her directorial debut at the age of 70), was appointed an American Ambassador by the NAACP and President Barack Obama presented her with the 2010 Presidential Medal of Freedom.