AAPI Weekly Highlights: New Health Insurance Options & Consumer Protections in the New Year

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AAPI Highlights, January 7, 2014 

Welcome to this edition of the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (WHIAAPI) Highlights. Read about the Administration’s work on the Affordable Care Act, the economy, and agency announcements.

As a reminder, you can read about our work at www.whitehouse.gov/aapi and you can follow us on Twitter: @WhiteHouseAAPI for the Initiative, @KiranAhujaAAPI for Kiran Ahuja, Executive Director of the Initiative, and @Inouye44 for Shin Inouye, White House Director of Specialty Media.

When little kids are around, you never know what will happen. On Christmas Day, the President and First Lady were greeting almost 600 active duty troops and their families at Marine Corps Base Hawaii Kaneohe (known locally as K-Bay). This youngster gave the President a look, which he returned; click here to see what happened next. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

New Health Insurance Options, New Consumer Protections in the New Year

The challenges in our health care system were decades in the making and won't be solved overnight, but now more than 6 million Americans have been enrolled in Marketplace or Medicaid coverage and are getting peace of mind, knowing that they can get the care they need without losing everything they've worked and saved for. Read more.

Time to Pass Bipartisan Legislation to Extend Emergency Unemployment Insurance

In the recent weekly address, President Obama said Congress should act to extend emergency unemployment insurance for more than one million Americans who have lost this vital economic lifeline while looking for a job. Letting emergency unemployment insurance expire not only harms American families, but it is also a drag on the overall economy. The President urges both parties to pass the bipartisan three-month extension under consideration in the Senate so that we can once again focus on expanding opportunities for the middle class and creating jobs for all hardworking Americans. Watch the weekly address.

WHIAAPI Announcements

Apply to be a 2014-2015 White House Fellow

The White House Fellowship is a program dedicated to leadership and public service. Fellows are placed in various White House offices and executive agencies to learn from and contribute to the efforts of senior leaders in our federal government. The deadline to apply for the 2014-2015 class is January 15, 2015. Read more and apply here.

1/23: Mandarin Chinese Google Hangout on the Health Insurance Marketplace

We will be continuing our Google+ Hangout Series on the Health Insurance Marketplace in Chinese. The Chinese language Hangout will take place on Thursday, January 23, 2014 from 3:00 - 4:00 PM (EST). We hope you will join us by watching live at a local viewing party or online by joining our Google+ Hangout.  Read more.

2013: The White House Initiative on AAPIs’ Year in Photos

From our Texas Regional Conference in February to AAPI Heritage Month in May and our Regional Interagency Working Group convenings in December, the White House Initiative on AAPIs has been honored to participate in and host a number of memorable events in 2013.  Check out some of our photo highlights from the year.

Agency Announcements

Obama Administration Takes Additional Steps to Strengthen the Federal Background Check System

As part of President Obama’s continuing efforts to reduce gun violence, the Department of Health and Human Services issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) to remove unnecessary legal barriers under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) Privacy Rule that may prevent states from reporting certain information to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS). Read more.

New Jersey Dairy Company to Pay Nearly $325,000 to Settle Charges of Sex and Race Discrimination Affecting 227 Job Applicants

The U.S. Department of Labor's Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs announced that federal contractor Cream-O-Land Dairy Inc. has resolved claims of sex and race discrimination affecting 227 workers who applied for jobs at the company’s dairy plant in Florence, N.J. An OFCCP review of the facility determined that the dairy company used a hiring process that violated Executive Order 11246 because it discriminated against women, African Americans and Asian Americans who applied for warehouse positions in 2010. Read more.

Funding Opportunities

Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)

Completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is the first step toward getting financial aid for college, career school, or graduate school. The FAFSA not only gives you access to the $150 billion in grants, loans, and work-study funds that the federal government has available, but many states, schools, and private scholarships require you to submit the FAFSA before they will consider you for any financial aid they offer. Get started at www.FAFSA.gov

National Endowment for the Arts: Art Works

The National Endowment for the Arts recognizes that arts and design organizations are often in the forefront of innovation in their work and strongly encourage innovative projects which are characterized as those that: 1) are likely to prove transformative with the potential for meaningful change, whether in the development or enhancement of new or existing art forms, new approaches to the creation or presentation of art, or new ways of engaging the public with art; 2) are distinctive, offering fresh insights and new value for their fields and/or the public through unconventional solutions; and 3) have the potential to be shared and/or emulated, or are likely to lead to other advances in the field. Learn more.

National Endowment for the Arts: Challenge America Fast-Track

The Challenge America Fast-Track category offers support primarily to small and mid-sized organizations for projects that extend the reach of the arts to underserved populations -- those whose opportunities to experience the arts are limited by geography, ethnicity, economics, or disability. Grants are available for professional arts programming and for projects that emphasize the potential of the arts in community development. Learn more.

SAMHSA Statewide Consumer Network Program

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) is accepting applications for FY 2014 Statewide Consumer Network grants. The purpose of this program is to improve mental health service delivery to people with serious mental illnesses.  A primary goal of the program is to strengthen the capacity of consumers to act as agents of transformation in influencing the type and amount of services, so they must be an integral part of an organization that supports individuals with a serious mental illness or who have received public mental health services, and ensures that their mental health care is consumer driven with access to recovery support services. Learn more.