AAPI Weekly Highlights: Confirming Rich Cordray to Lead the CFPB

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AAPI Highlights, July 22, 2013

Welcome to this edition of the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (WHIAAPI) Highlights. Read about the Senate’s Confirmation of Rich Cordray as CFPB Director, President Obama’s remarks on Trayvon Martin, and more agency announcements.

President Barack Obama, with former President George H. W. Bush, delivers remarks before they present the 5,000th Daily Point of Light Award to Outrea

President Barack Obama, with former President George H. W. Bush, delivers remarks before they present the 5,000th Daily Point of Light Award to Outreach Inc. co-founders Floyd Hammer and Kathy Hamilton, winners of the 5,000th Daily Point of Light Award, in the East Room of the White House, July 15, 2013. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)

Confirming Rich Cordray to Lead the CFPB

In his weekly address, President Obama discusses the Senate’s confirmation of Rich Cordray as Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). The CFPB is an independent watchdog set up to protect families from irresponsible behavior in the financial sector – one that puts mortgage lenders, student lenders, payday lenders, and credit reporting and debt collection agencies under greater scrutiny, while providing the American people a place to get some measure of justice if they don’t play by the rules. Watch the President's weekly address.

President Obama: Trayvon Martin Could Have Been Me

On July 19th, President Obama spoke from the White House Press Briefing Room about Trayvon Martin and the verdict of the court trial that followed the Florida teenager’s death. President Obama said in part, “When Trayvon Martin was first shot I said that this could have been my son. Another way of saying that is Trayvon Martin could have been me 35 years ago.” Watch the President’s remarks or read the transcript here.

A Refund from Your Health Insurance Company? Thank the Affordable Care Act

Did you know that 8.5 million Americans are getting a refund this year from their health insurance companies? Thanks to a provision in the Affordable Care Act, if your insurance company isn’t spending at least 80 percent of your premium dollars on medical care, they have to send you some money back. On July 18th in the East Room, President Obama explained that “last year, millions of Americans opened letters from their insurance companies -- but instead of the usual dread that comes from getting a bill they were pleasantly surprised with a check. In 2012, 13 million rebates went out, in all 50 states." Another 8.5 million rebates are being sent out this summer, averaging around $100 each, he said. Learn more about how the Affordable Care Act is saving Americans billions of dollars.

WHIAAPI Announcements

“Get to Know You” Conference call with Citizenship and Immigration Services Ombudsman

The White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders invites you to join a conference call with Maria Odom, U.S. Department of Homeland Security Citizenship and Immigration Services (CIS) Ombudsman, on Thursday, August 1, from 3:00-4:00 PM (Eastern). The call will provide an overview of the Ombudsman’s Office, address issues related to the AAPI community, and provide an opportunity for representatives from the AAPI community to engage directly with the Ombudsman. More information on the conference call.

Agency Announcements

New Report Finds Competition Lowers Premiums By Nearly 20 Percent in the Health Insurance Marketplace

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius released a new report that finds premiums in the Health Insurance Marketplace will be nearly 20 percent lower in 2014 than previously expected. The Affordable Care Act requires health insurers in every state to publicly justify any premium rate increases of 10 percent or more. Health insurance companies now generally have to spend at least 80 cents of every premium dollar on health care or improvements to care, or provide a rebate to their policy holders. In addition, when the Health Insurance Marketplace opens for enrollment on October 1, 2013 consumers will be able to make apples to apples comparisons of quality health insurance plans. Read more about the Health Insurance Marketplace here.

HUD Publishes New Proposed Rule on Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) published a new proposed rule to Affirmatively Further Fair Housing (AFFH) in the Federal Register and made available background materials and a prototype geospatial tool. AFFH refers to the 1968 Fair Housing Act’s obligation for state and local governments to improve and achieve more meaningful outcomes from fair housing policies, so that every American has the right to fair housing, regardless of their race, color, national origin, religion, sex, disability or familial status. Read more about the proposed rule.

Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker Visits Minority Business Development Agency Team

On July 15th newly appointed Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker visited Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) employees. During the visit, Secretary Pritzker talked to MBDA staff about her commitment to supporting the Agency’s mission of helping minority-owned businesses grow and create American jobs. The secretary, who was familiar with MBDA’s work prior to joining Commerce, commended the agency on their recent annual performance report, and told employees that she looks forward to working with them to further the department’s mission. Read more about the Commerce Secretary’s visit to the Agency.

Statement from U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan on FCC Action to Connect More Students to High-Speed Internet

The FCC recently voted to accept the President's challenge to bring America's classrooms into the modern age with high-speed Internet. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan applauded the decision, saying “Their vote today marks a first step in a five-year effort that will have enormous benefits for students, teachers and families, and for our national competitiveness.” Read Secretary Duncan’s full statement.

Stepping on the Accelerator for the Implementation of Dodd-Frank

July 14th marked the third anniversary of President Obama signing into law the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act -- the most significant set of financial reforms since the Great Depression. On July 17th, Secretary Lew provided a progress report on reforms in place so far and outlined his near term goals for implementation during remarks at the Delivering Alpha conference hosted by CNBC and Institutional Investor in New York City. Speaking to a packed room, Secretary Lew underscored that “finishing the job of financial reform is critically important to [him] and this Administration.” Read more about the implementation of Dodd-Frank.

Grant Opportunities

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services announces Health Care Innovation Awards Round Two

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has released a Funding Opportunity Announcement for round two of the Health Care Innovation Awards. Under this announcement, CMS will spend up to $1 billion for awards and evaluation of projects from across the country that test new payment and service delivery models that will deliver better care and lower costs for Medicare, Medicaid, and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) enrollees. The second round of the Health Care Innovation Awards will support public and private organizations in four defined areas that have a high likelihood of driving health care system transformation and delivering better outcomes. CMS will accept applications until August 15, 2013 3pm EDT. Read more about the funding opportunity.

HHS Awards $12 million to Help Teaching Health Centers Train Primary Care Providers

Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced $12 million in Affordable Care Act funding to support primary care residency programs in 32 Teaching Health Centers across the nation. Funding will help train more than 300 residents during the 2013-2014 academic year, doubling the number of residents trained in the previous academic year. Read more about the funding opportunity here.