a new paper shows one place where the law has been a clear success: narrowing the race gap in health insurance. So why aren’t more Democrats shouting that from the rooftops. In 2013, the year before most of the law’s provisions for subsidized insurance took effect, non-elderly blacks were 47 percent more likely than whites to be uninsured.
For American Indians, that figure was 93 percent; for Hispanics, 120 percent. In 2014, not only did the share of whites without insurance fall; the share of blacks and Asian Americans fell by more. The difference between whites and Hispanics shrank, from 14 percentage points to 11.8 percentage points. What’s odd about the race gap isn’t its persistence, but that its narrowing isn’t more celebrated as one of the law’s accomplishments. Narrowing the race gap in health insurance counts unequivocally as progress.
A total of 17.6 million people have gained coverage under ObamaCare, according to a revised government estimate. The newest figure, which is based on national survey data, shows that 1.2 million more people had signed up for healthcare over the last five years than previously thought. The revised total includes 15.3 million people who gained coverage through the individual marketplace or through Medicaid. It also includes 2.3 million young adults who gained coverage because they were able to remain on a parent’s plan until they turn 26.
The new data also puts the Obama administration ahead of the health insurance gains estimated by the Congressional Budget Office for 2015. The CBO had predicted roughly 17 million people would gain coverage by 2015. Health and Human Services (HHS) chief Sylvia Mathews Burwell announced the new figure Tuesday during a speech at Howard University Hospital, where she also highlighted the law’s impact on black and Hispanic populations. “This progress has been even bigger for people of color,” she said, pointing to the 10 percent drop in the uninsured rate among black Americans.
Friday afternoon announcements in Washington are usually aimed at attracting as little attention as possible, but last Friday was different. President Obama’s decision to nominate Eric Fanning — an openly gay man — to head a branch of the military which only four years ago did not allow gays and lesbians to serve openly, was both historic and attention-grabbing. And it underscored an often-overlooked feature of the Obama presidency: Obama has presided over the most demographically diverse administration in history, according to a new analysis of his top appointments. The majority of top policy appointments within the executive branch are held by women and minorities for the first time in history. The shifts are significant enough, experts say, that they may have forever transformed the face of government. The Obama White House, by contrast, has established specific programs to boost diversity among appointees.
For the 1st time ever the majority of top exec branch posts aren't held by white men. Here's how @POTUS @vj44 did it wapo.st/1KsI5Xk
The Presidential Personnel Office targets historically black colleges and universities, as well as minority-serving institutions, as part of a new campus recruitment program. It has a liaison to identify candidates by working with leaders from underrepresented groups, including those who are LGBT or have disabilities. The impact of Obama’s diversity efforts could reverberate for decades in people such as Michael Blake, a son of Jamaican immigrants who was homeless as a child but worked on Obama’s two presidential campaigns and in the White House as associate director of public engagement. Last year, Blake won election to the New York State Assembly, with the help of a lot of other Obama alumni, including Marlon Marshall, who is now Hillary Rodham Clinton’s director of state campaigns and political engagement. Blake’s campaign slogan was about his transformation: “No House to the White House.” Obama, Blake said, has helped create a new network of people of color now climbing the ranks of government. “He did that,” Blake said. “He grew that.”
On June 2, 2015, President Barack Obama will award the Medal of Honor to Army Private Henry Johnson for conspicuous gallantry during World War I.
Private Henry Johnson will receive the Medal of Honor posthumously for his actions while serving as a member of Company C, 369th Infantry Regiment, 93rd Division, American Expeditionary Forces. Then-Private Johnson distinguished himself during combat operations in the vicinity of the Tourbe and Aisne Rivers, northwest of Saint Menehoul, France, on May 15, 1918.
Private Johnson entered the Army on June 5, 1917. He was assigned to Company C, 15th New York (Colored) Infantry Regiment, an all-black National Guard unit that would later become the 369th Infantry Regiment. The Regiment was ordered into battle in 1918, and Private Johnson and his unit were brigaded with a French Army colonial unit in front-line combat.
While on night sentry duty on May 15, 1918, Private Johnson and a fellow Soldier received a surprise attack by a German raiding party consisting of at least 12 soldiers. While under intense enemy fire and despite receiving significant wounds, Johnson mounted a brave retaliation resulting in several enemy casualties.
When his fellow soldier was badly wounded, Private Johnson prevented him from being taken prisoner by German forces. Private Johnson exposed himself to grave danger by advancing from his position to engage an enemy soldier in hand-to-hand combat. Displaying great courage, Private Johnson held back the enemy force until they retreated.
Command Sergeant Major Louis Wilson, New York National Guard, will join the President at the White House to accept the Medal of Honor on Private Johnson’s behalf.
NY Daily News: …. Although doctors had replaced his shin bone with a steel tube and removed most of the bones from one foot, Johnson’s discharge papers rated him as having a zero percent disability, disqualifying him for benefits.
Succumbing to poverty and drink, he died at the age of 32 and was buried in Arlington National Cemetery, his only recognition the French Croix de Guerre.
At last, in 1996, the U.S. awarded Johnson a Purple Heart and followed up in 2002 with the nation’s second-highest commendation, the Distinguished Service Cross. At the time, the military denied Johnson the Medal of Honor, finding insufficient documentation of his heroism.
Subsequently, Sen. Chuck Schumer’s volunteer historians have amassed overwhelming proof that this quintessential Hellfighter from Harlem performed with incomprehensible valor in service of a nation that spurned him at every turn because of skin color.
Be polite and respectful when stopped by the police. Do not, under any circumstances, get into an argument with the police. Keep your hands in plain sight. Make sure the police can see your hands at all times. Stay calm and remain in control. Watch your words, body language and emotions. “Your goal is to get home safely.”
Ever since then Senator Obama decided to run for president in 2007, he has been modelling the behavior he would wish all of us and, particularly all Democrats, to follow. He never panicked or over dramatized anything, but patiently, methodically built an organization that was bigger, better and infinitely more effective than the existing Democratic Party. And he did it with finesse and courtesy, never once publicly criticizing the Democratic establishment or embarrassing any individual, no matter how much he was insulted by them. He showed us how to have immense grace under pressure, how to press forward on difficult days, how to shut out the naysayers, how to respect our skills and empower each other. As president he has showed us optimism combined with pragmatism and realism. He has never stooped to the level of his enemies and has tried to seek a common ground, even as he worked against the most massive obstruction in history. After the midterms, he literally went in front of the cameras and taught us how to act– not to cower or despair, but to lift our heads with pride and a sense of optimism and move forward. He told us by his actions alone to give nothing to our critics, waste no sorrow on our enemies, remain undaunted at our prospects and just keep moving forward bringing light and honesty into the darkest hate. If Democrats in this country–and that includes you, Jon Tester–opened their eyes and realized how much this incredible president is teaching us every day we would not only become better human beings, we would never lose another election.
Donna Dem’s (@NoShock) Black History Month ‘Did You Know?’ Series:
In honor of Black History Month I decided to do a “Did You Know” series for the month of February. So often we hear about well known African-Americans who have made history through the ages. In order to give a little more perspective, I wanted to share some of the back stories that are rarely ever spoken of.
Did You Know That?
Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated on friend Maya Angelou’s birthday, on April 4, 1968. Angelou stopped celebrating her birthday for years afterward, and sent flowers to King’s widow, Coretta Scott King, for more than 30 years, until Coretta’s death in 2006.
Did You Know That?
Muhammad Ali, Golden Glove champion, Olympic Gold medalist, Heavy Weight boxing champion and Presidential Medal of Freedom awardee is considered one of the greatest athletes in boxing history had a penchant of being controversial and outspoken. He didn’t disappoint when he was awarded a star on the infamous Hollywood Walk of Fame. Ali didn’t want anyone “stepping on him” so of the more than 2500 stars that have been honored he is the only celebrity whose star is not located on the sidewalk. He was installed on a wall of the Kodak Theatre in true “I am the greatest” Muhammad Ali style.
Did You Know That?
Allensworth, CA is the first all-black Californian township, founded and financed by African Americans. Created by Lieutenant Colonel Allen Allensworth in 1908, the town was built with the intention of establishing a self-sufficient city where African Americans could live their lives free of racial prejudice.
It has since been designated Colonel Allensworth State Historic Park.
Did You Know That?
Althea Gibson, the first AA to win a Tennis Grand Slam event, the French Open and then later Wimbledon was also a talented vocalist and saxophonist who appeared at the legendary Apollo Theater and on the Ed Sullivan show before starting her tennis career.
Did You Know That?
After the success of Negro Digest (similar to the Reader’s Digest but aimed to cover positive stories about the African-American community), publisher John H. Johnson in 1945 decided to create a magazine to showcase black achievement while also looking at current issues affecting African Americans. The first issue of his publication, Ebony, sold out in a matter of hours. The magazine has been published continually since the autumn of 1945.
Did You Know That?
Frederick Douglas, Black abolitionist, orator and writer and Moneta Sleet, the first African American to win a Pulitzer Prize for his iconic photograph of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s widow, Coretta Scott King, at Dr. King’s funeral and Gregory Hines, world renowned tap dancer, choreographer, actor, singer and director all share a birthday on ♥ ♥Valentine’s Day ♥ ♥ .
Did You Know That?
Carter G. Woodson, the “Father of Black History“, was an African-American historian, author, journalist and University Dean. In 1926, Dr. Woodson initiated the celebration of Negro History Week, which corresponded with the birthdays of Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln. In 1972, it was renamed Black History Week. The celebration was expanded in 1976 to include the entire month of February and today Black History Month garners support throughout the country as people of all ethnic and social backgrounds discuss the black experience.
Did You Know That?
In her early life, Coretta Scott King was as well known for her singing and violin playing as she was for her civil rights activism. The young soprano won a fellowship to the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston, Massachusetts, the city where she met future husband Martin Luther King Jr.
Did You Know That?
Rosa Parks known as “the mother of the freedom movement” because she refused to give up her seat on a segregated bus, in 1965 she moved to Detroit and worked for U.S. Representative John Conyers as a secretary and receptionist until 1988. She was a gifted speaker but would donate all of her speaking fees to charity. At the end of her life she was being financially supported by the generosity of those in her community and was the first woman to lie in state at the U.S. Capitol Rotunda.
President Barack Obama signs a Presidential Memorandum establishing My Brother’s Keeper
President Barack Obama reacts as he is introduced to speak by Christian Champagne, 18, from Chicago at the unveiling of Obama’s “My Brother’s Keeper” initiative at the White House. The program aims to improve opportunities for boys from minority groups.
Tracy Martin and Sybrina Fulton (parents of Trayvon Martin)
Usually, we do things bigger in Texas. But right now, when it comes to covering the uninsured, some of our neighboring states are trying to beat us to the draw. In Arkansas, for example, they¹ve cut the total number of uninsured in the state by nearly 14 percent in just over a month.
There’s one big reason for that. Under the Affordable Care Act, states can choose whether or not to expand Medicaid to cover more of its citizens, and Arkansas chose “yes.” If we made that same choice in Texas, it would cover more than one million of our citizens, and save our taxpayers $1.7 billion over the next decade in unpaid hospital bills.
USA Today: Reversing CNN’s Fortunes Proves A Daunting Task
With its heavy emphasis last week on the woes of the new national health insurance exchange website’s rollout, the cable news network registered its lowest weekday primetime ratings in over a year. For the week of Oct. 28 to Nov. 1, the Time Warner-owned network averaged 385,000 viewers – lowest since Aug. 2012 – and 95,000 coveted adults between the ages of 25 and 54.
CNN’s ratings numbers have always popped with national breaking news. But the story about an insurance website – however comprehensive in coverage – likely wasn’t the kind that drives viewers to interrupt their day’s routines to tune in, says Andrew Tyndall, a longtime TV news monitor and publisher of industry newsletter Tyndall Report.
Think Progress: Texans Sharply Disagree With Rick Perry On Obamacare’s Medicaid Expansion
While Perry hasn’t exactly been shy about his opposition to that ACA provision, his constituents have a markedly different view, according to a new poll by the University of Texas and the Texas Tribune.
In addition to wide-ranging support for various ACA components such as insurance subsidies for low-income Americans and tax credits to businesses for providing health coverage, the poll finds that two-thirds of Texans support Medicaid expansion. Over 35 percent of the respondents even said that they “strongly support” the policy
Washington Post: Debt Collectors Face New Rules Under Proposal From Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
The government is preparing restrictions on debt collectors, a loosely regulated industry under increasing scrutiny over complaints of abusive tactics. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is slated to issue a notice of proposed rulemaking to modernize the legal framework governing debt collection.
The government watchdog is seeking public and business comment before formally proposing the rules, which are expected to be finalized by next year. The bureau is asking Americans whether creditors and collection agencies are providing accurate information about their outstanding debts. It also wants to know whether people are receiving threatening calls at all hours of the night or being dragged into court for money they do not owe.
Jamelle Bouie: How High Black Turnout Gave Terry McAuliffe His Win In Virginia
One of the big questions of the next few years of politics is whether Democrats can replicate the “Obama model” of minority turnout without the presence of Obama on the ballot. If the Virginia gubernatorial election was a test case, then the early answer is a clear “yes.” Cuccinelli maintained the GOP’s traditional advantage with white and married women, winning the former by sixteen point spread of 54 percent to 38 percent, and the latter by a solid margin of 51 percent to 42 percent.
Where the change from 2009 was most significant was among black voters. Then, African Americans were 16 percent were of the electorate, a significant drop from the 2008 election. This year, blacks were 20 percent of all voters, which means their turnout was exactly where it was in 2012.
Put another way, for the second year in a row, African Americans turned out at a rate above their percentage of the population, and supported the Democrat by a 9-to–1 margin. This is huge. For McAuliffe, what it meant is that—for almost every black voter who went to the polls—he could count on a vote, giving him crucial support in a tight race. To wit, more than 37 percent of his vote total came from African Americans.
Sy Mukherjee: No, Obamacare Won’t Cause Millions Of Workers To Lose Their Employer Sponsored Health Plans
Forbes contributor and former Mitt Romney health care adviser Avik Roy wrote a piece claiming that the Obama administration knew “93 million Americans will be unable to keep their health plans” under Obamacare and that many of them would actually be workers with employer-sponsored coverage.
Under the “grandfather clause,” a plan issued before the ACA was signed in 2010 could remain in place as long as employers or insurance companies didn’t drastically change its terms in a way that would harm the policy holder, like increasing out-of-pocket costs or dropping benefits. However, if a plan did change, it would lose its “grandfather status.” Then, any new plan issued in its place would be subject to Obamacare’s various requirements.
“So it isn’t like all of a sudden people are going to wake up and find out I don’t have my employer coverage anymore,” said Jost. “It’s just there are going to be some minor changes in those plans that benefit enrollees, and that many employers probably already covered anyway.” These small changes might include things like covering workers’ dependent children, or adding preventative care services, according to Jost.
Yahoo: Starbucks Wants To Recruit 10,000 Vets, Spouses To Its Ranks
Starbucks Corp is looking for thousands of good men – and women. The world’s biggest coffee chain said on Wednesday it would commit to hiring at least 10,000 veterans and spouses of active military in five years.
It also said five new and existing U.S. Starbucks cafes on or near military bases will share a portion of each sale with non-profit organizations that help veterans re-enter the workforce.
Many U.S. companies have committed to hiring thousands of military veterans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan. Seattle-based Starbucks said it will have specialized recruiters to match the unique skills of veterans and their spouses with company jobs.
Alec MacGillis: The Pundits Are Wrong. The Virginia Election Was A Big Win For Obamacare
Last night, the prospects for Robin L. and the estimated 400,000 Virginians who would be eligible under a Medicaid expansion brightened considerably. The gubernatorial election was won by Terry McAuliffe. So, the election was a clear win for Obamacare, right? Nope, say the pundits.
I’m not sure when I last saw such a stark example of election spin and punditry floating away from the substantive reality of governing and its impact on actual people. There is no mention in these accounts of the greatly enhanced prospects for the Medicaid expansion in Virginia as a result of McAuliffe’s win. No, it’s all about the exit polls and what it might mean for Obama and the Democrats.
All we know right now is that after a very rough patch for the law, the guy who ran strongly in support of it beat a guy who was strongly opposed to it, in the most purple state in the country. And as a result, hundreds of thousands of working poor may get health insurance coverage. How removed from the reality of these people’s lives does one have to be to chalk up such a result as a loss for Obamacare?
The US economy grew at an annualised pace of 2.8% in the third quarter of the year, latest figures have shown. The growth rate was faster than expected, and was an improvement on the 2.5% pace seen in the previous quarter. Growth was lifted by rising exports, businesses restocking shelves and a pick-up in home construction.
Keith Boykin: Despite What Conservatives Try To Argue, Black People Do Vote For White Candidates
Although no Democrat has run New York City since Dinkins, New Yorkers on Tuesday chose a progressive white Democrat, Bill de Blasio, who was swept into office with enormous Black support, an accomplished African-American wife and a highly publicized interracial family, all of which served as a rebuke to the racial polarization of the Rudy Giuliani regime and the racist stop-and-frisk policies of the Michael Bloomberg era.
On the same day de Blasio was elected, voters also chose Letitia James to succeed him as the city’s public advocate, making her the first Black woman in New York history to hold citywide office. The real story was about the influence of Black women, who voted 91 percent for McAuliffe while only 38 percent of white women did so, according to a New York Times exit poll.
That’s a lesson Democrats should remember as they suit up for 2014 and 2016. Democrats win when they attract a wide and diverse group of voters, just as President Obama did.
President Obama, first lady Michelle Obama and their daughters Sasha and Malia walk from Marine One to board Air Force One at Chicago O’Hare International Airport, Nov. 7, 2012, in Chicago, the day after the presidential election.
On This Day:
President Obama hugs House Speaker Nancy Pelosi at the Cannon House Office Building at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., Nov. 7, 2009 (Photo by Pete Souza)
Nov. 7, 2010: “In India, the President was finally persuaded to join the First Lady on the dance floor at Holy Name High School in Mumbai.” (Photo by Pete Souza)
President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama greet young dancers at a Diwali candle lighting and performance at Holy Name High School in Mumbai, India, Nov. 7, 2010 (Photo by Pete Souza)
President Obama greets students following a town hall meeting at St. Xavier College in Mumbai, India, Nov. 7, 2010 (Photo by Pete Souza)