AAPI Highlights: Three Years of the Affordable Care Act

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AAPI Highlights, March 25, 2013


Welcome to this edition of the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (WHIAAPI) Highlights. Read about the President’s celebration of Women's History Month, Secretary of Health and Human Services Sebelius’ blog on the Affordable Care Act’s 3rd anniversary, the AAPI Women Champions of Change nominations process, and other agency announcements.


Announcing AAPI Women Champions of Change


Across the country, Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander women are doing extraordinary things to create a more equal, safe, and prosperous future.  In business, the arts, civil rights, health, and so many other fields, AAPI women are helping to improve the lives of their fellow Americans.


This May, on the occasion of AAPI Heritage Month, the White House Office of Public Engagement, White House Council on Women and Girls, and White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders will honor a small group of AAPI women as Champions of Change. And we want your help! Members of the public are invited to submit nominations online until Friday, March 29, 2013. A small group of AAPI women who represent diverse experiences and backgrounds will be honored as Champions of Change and invited to the White House for an event in early May. Learn more here.

 Nominate a Hero for the 2013 Citizens Medal

For more 40 years, the Presidential Citizens Medal has recognized Americans who have "performed exemplary deeds of service for their country or their fellow citizens." The Medal is among the highest awards a civilian can receive. Help us recognize the exemplary citizen from your community -- and bring them the public attention they deserve by taking a moment to nominate them for this year’s medal by Sunday, March, 31st 2013. Learn more here.


President Obama Hosts a Celebration of Women's History Month at the White House


President Obama and First Lady 


President Barack Obama delivers remarks during the Women’s History Month reception in the East Room of the White House, March 18, 2013. Standing at right are First Lady Michelle Obama and Amanda McMillan, who introduced the President. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)


On March 18, 2013, President Obama welcomed a group of accomplished and inspiring women to a reception in the East Room of the White House. The group, which included leaders like A&E Networks CEO Abbe Raven, Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, Girl Scouts' CEO Anna Maria Chávez, astronaut Sunita Williams, activists Dolores Huerta and Lilly Ledbetter, and WNBA star (and 3-time Olympic Gold Medalist) Tamika Catchings, joined the President, First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden to celebrate the progress women make in this country each and every day. Read more here.


President Obama Nominates Thomas Perez for Secretary of Labor


On March 18, 2013, President Obama announced that he had chosen Thomas Perez, the head of the U.S. Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, to be the next Secretary of Labor. Mr. Perez is the son of immigrants and a lawyer who helped pay his way through college by working as a garbage collector. He formerly served as the Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice. Read more here.


HHS Secretary Sebelius on Health Care Law’s 3rd Anniversary: Paying for Quality Saves Health Care Dollars


U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius writes, “For decades before the passage of the Affordable Care Act, health care costs outstripped inflation, without corresponding improvements in health care quality. Our system didn’t incentivize quality or efficiency. We paid providers for the quantity of care, not the quality of care delivered. And we were not using technology to deliver smarter care. The Affordable Care Act includes steps to improve the quality of health care and lower costs for you and for our nation as a whole.” Read more here.


WHIAAPI Announcements


Internship Opportunities   


The White House Internship application for the Fall 2013 program is open.  The deadline to apply is May 12, 2013.  White House Interns dedicate their time, talents, energy, and service to better the White House, the community, and the nation. They become a part of the White House team, and the assignments given to an intern on any given day could include conducting research, managing incoming inquiries, attending meetings, writing memos, and staffing events. They also participate in a weekly speaker series with senior staff members and small group meetings exploring different policy aspects of the Executive Office of the President through speakers, discussion, off-site field trips, and service projects.


Recommendation Process for the President's Advisory Commission on AAPIs 


The President’s Advisory Commission on AAPIs is comprised of 20 individuals, selected by the President, who represent the diversity and expertise of the AAPI community.  Over the last three years, the Commission has acted as the ‘eyes and ears’ of this Administration representing and advocating for the AAPI community.  To the extent Commission vacancies may arise, we encourage the community to recommend those leaders who you believe represent the best and brightest the AAPI community has to offer.


Please send an email to WHIAAPICommission@ed.gov providing the following information:

  • Full name
  • Title/Position
  • Substantive area (health, education, business etc…)
  • City/State or region
  • Bio/Resume
  • A brief write-up on why this person would be a good candidate  


 The AAPI Community Celebrates Three Years of the Affordable Care Act


Three years ago the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was passed into law. Even though health insurance is one of the most important determinants of health for AAPIs, nearly 1 in 5 AAPIs is uninsured. The Affordable Care Act will make approximately 2 million AAPIs who would otherwise be uninsured eligible for health insurance coverage by 2016. Learn more about how the ACA benefits AAPIs here.


A Conversation with AAPI Women


On March 19, 2013, in collaboration with the White House Council on Women and Girls and the White House Office of Public Engagement, the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders hosted an Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Women’s Roundtable. The roundtable brought together distinguished AAPI women leaders and advocates from across the U.S. and Pacific Islands to engage in a dialogue with senior Administration officials about the challenges and concerns facing the AAPI women’s community. Their issues related to immigration, domestic violence, human trafficking, working conditions, small business opportunities, health care, and equal pay. At the roundtable, the Initiative also released its AAPI Women and Girls Fact Sheet. The fact sheet highlights the many ways in which the Obama Administration is supporting AAPI women and girls across the country. Read the post here.


Agency Announcements


Affordable Care Act extended Free Preventive Care to 71 million Americans with Private Health Insurance


On March 18, 2013, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced that about 71 million Americans in private health insurance plans received coverage for at least one free preventive health care service, such as a mammogram or flu shot, in 2011 and 2012 because of the Affordable Care Act. Additionally, an estimated 34 million Americans in traditional Medicare and Medicare Advantage plans have received at least one preventive service, such as an annual wellness visit at no out of pocket cost because of the health care law. Taken together, this means about 105 million Americans with private health plans and Medicare beneficiaries have been helped by the Affordable Care Act’s prevention coverage improvements. Read more here.


Seniors Saved Over $6 Billion on Prescription Drugs as a Result of the Health Care Law


As the third anniversary of the Affordable Care Act approaches, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced on March 21, 2013, that more than 6.3 million people with Medicare saved over $6.1 billion on prescription drugs because of the health care law. The Affordable Care Act makes Medicare prescription drug coverage (Part D) more affordable by gradually closing the gap in coverage where beneficiaries must pay the full cost of their prescriptions out of pocket. This gap is known as the donut hole. People with Medicare in the donut hole now receive discounts when they purchase prescription drugs at a pharmacy or order them through the mail, until they reach the catastrophic coverage phase. Read more here.


Education Department Releases Guidance on Providing Title IV-Federal Student Financial Aid- Eligibility for Competency-Based Learning Programs


On March 19, 2013, the U.S. Department of Education issued guidance for higher education institutions that offer competency-based programs in which students learn at their own pace – but that currently do not offer federal student aid. The Department is reminding institutions that they may be eligible to provide title IV funds under the direct assessment provision of the Higher Education Act of 1965, and it has provided step-by-step instructions on how to apply. Read the guide here.


Office of Vocational and Adult Education’s 2013 Community College Webinar Series Continues On April 10


The Office of Vocational and Adult Education (OVAE) is hosting a series of community college webinars in 2013, in collaboration with the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) and the Association of Community College Trustees (ACCT), to bring together experts from the field and local practitioners to discuss some of the key challenges these institutions face and highlight promising institutional practices and policy changes from around the country that aim to increase postsecondary student success. The second event in this series will be held on Wednesday, April 10 from 1:30 to 3:00 p.m. ET. Read more here.


Making STEM Personal: Introducing the Women @ Energy Series


Occupations in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) are among the fastest growing job sectors – offering top paying positions and a host of opportunities. On top of all that, STEM jobs are passports to changing the world through innovation and discovery. In celebration of Women’s History Month, the U.S. Department of Energy launched a new feature -- Women @ Energy -- showcasing talented and dedicated employees at the Energy Department who work to change the world. Women @ Energy profiles women across the country who share insights on what inspired them to work in STEM, what excites them about their work at the U.S. Department of Energy, and what we can do to engage more underrepresented groups in STEM. Read more here.


U.S. Transportation Secretary LaHood Announces $164.2 Million to Reimburse Transit Agencies in New Jersey, New York and Connecticut Recovering from Hurricane Sandy


On March 19, 2013, the U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood announced the second allocation of Federal Transit Administration (FTA) storm-related aid through the FY 2013 Disaster Relief Appropriations Act. The $164.2 million allocated includes $163.4 million to reimburse New Jersey Transit Corporation (NJT), the Port Authority Trans-Hudson Corp. (PATH) and the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) for expenses incurred while preparing for and recovering from Hurricane Sandy. The City of Long Beach and Westchester County in New York and the Milford Transit District in Connecticut received reimbursements totaling an additional $841,000. Read more here.


SBA and Experian Launch Online Cash Flow Management Tool for Small Disadvantaged and Historically Underutilized Business (HUB) Zone Firms


The U.S. Small Business Administration has joined forces with Experian, the leading global information services provider, to launch BusinessIQ ExpressSM, an online cash flow management tool, for small disadvantaged firms in SBA’s 8(a) Business Development program and firms certified in SBA’s Historically Underutilized Business (HUB) Zone program. SBA and Experian’s Business Information Services will host a webinar on April 2, 2013, from 2:00 – 3:00 p.m. EST, to educate firms in SBA’s 8(a) Business Development and HUBZone programs on how BusinessIQ Express can assist them with managing their business relationships. Read more here.


USDA Announces New Partnership with States to Strengthen Integrity of Nation's Most Vital Nutrition Assistance Program


On March 20, 2013, Agriculture Undersecretary for Food, Nutrition and Consumer Services Kevin Concannon announced a new federal-state partnership targeting recipient fraud in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will share its extensive experience in monitoring retailer fraud to help states develop a more robust set of tools to identify suspicious activity and improve tactics to catch recipients that attempt to commit SNAP fraud. By law, USDA is responsible for overseeing the more than 250,000 retailers that redeem SNAP benefits nationwide, while states are responsible for identifying and pursuing fraudulent activity by recipients. Read more here.


Transportation Technology Solutions for the 21st Century


On May 8, 2013, the U.S. Department of Transportation and the White House Office of Public Engagement will host a Champions of Change event on “Transportation Technology Solutions for the 21st Century.” This Champions of Change event will focus on individuals or organizations that have provided exemplary leadership in implementing transportation technology solutions to enhance performance, reduce congestion, improve safety, and facilitate communication across the transportation industry at the local, state or regional level. White House Champions of Change program highlights the stories and examples of citizens across the country who are “Building an America to Last” with projects and initiatives that move their communities forward. Read more here.


Statement by Acting Secretary Of Labor Seth D. Harris Regarding Bureau of Labor Statistics Report on Employment among Veterans 


On March 20, 2013, Acting Secretary of Labor Seth D. Harris issued the following statement on the release of 2012 veterans' employment data by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: "Today's veterans' employment report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows promising signs that post-9/11 veterans are finding and keeping jobs in larger numbers as our overall economy continues its steady recovery. The report shows a significant decline in the unemployment rate for veterans overall from 8.3 percent in 2011 to 7.0 percent in 2012. Post-9/11 veterans saw an encouraging decline to 9.9 percent in 2012 from 12.1 percent in 2011.” Read more here.


Grant Opportunities


Make It In America Challenge


The Make It In America Challenge is a $40 million multi-agency competition funded by the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) and National Institute of Standards and Technology Manufacturing Extension Partnership (NIST-MEP) and the U.S. Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration (ETA). This national competition will help provide the critical infrastructure, strategic planning, capacity building, technical assistance, and workforce skills training necessary for American communities to be the desired home for more businesses. The challenge is expected to give out approximately 15 awards, depending on the number of eligible applications. To be eligible for an award, projects must encourage insourcing, either through on-shoring of productive activity by U.S. firms, fostering increased foreign direct investment, or incentivizing U.S. companies to keep their businesses and jobs here at home, as well as train local workers to meet the needs of those businesses. Applications are due May 31, 2013. Read more here.


Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) Grant Opportunity: Targeted Capacity Expansion: Substance Abuse Treatment for Racial/Ethnic Minority Women at High Risk for HIV/AIDS


The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) is accepting applications for fiscal year 2013 Targeted Capacity Expansion: Substance Abuse Treatment for Racial/Ethnic Minority Women at High Risk for HIV/AIDS grants. The purpose of this program is to expand substance abuse treatment and HIV services for African American, Hispanic/Latina and other racial/ethnic minority women (ages 18 years and older), including heterosexual, lesbian, bisexual, previously incarcerated women, and their significant others, who have substance use or co-occurring substance use and mental disorders and are living with or at risk for HIV/AIDS. Read more here.


Refugee Home-Based Childcare Microenterprise Development Project


The Administration for Children and Families Office of Refugee Resettlement has announced the availability of funds for Refugee Home-Based Child Care Microenterprise Development Projects. Recipients of grant awards through this announcement will teach refugee women about local, state, and federal child care laws, regulations and licensing requirements and about cultural norms concerning child care and child care development. Also, they will assist refugee women in English language acquisition, advance educational attainment (GED) and improve economic opportunities through application of acquired job skills in a market where there is a shortage of childcare providers. Learn more here.