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  • Statement by the President on the Passing of Nobel Laureate Gabriel García Marquez

    With the passing of Gabriel García Márquez, the world has lost one of its greatest visionary writers – and one of my favorites from the time I was young.  Affectionately known as “Gabo” to millions of his fans, he first won international recognition with his masterpiece One Hundred Years of Solitude.  I once had the privilege to meet him in Mexico, where he presented me with an inscribed copy that I cherish to this day.  As a proud Colombian, a representative and voice for the people of the Americas, and as a master of the “magic realism” genre, he has inspired so many others – sometimes even to pick up the pen themselves.  I offer my thoughts to his family and friends, whom I hope take solace in the fact that Gabo’s work will live on for generations to come.

  • Readout of the President’s Call with Chancellor Merkel of Germany

    The President and Chancellor Merkel of Germany spoke today regarding their deep concern about the situation in eastern Ukraine.  The President commended the government of Ukraine’s approach to today’s discussions in Geneva, where it put forward constructive proposals to expand local governance and ensure the rights of all Ukrainians are protected.  The leaders stressed that Russia needs to take immediate, concrete actions to de-escalate the situation in eastern Ukraine, including by using its influence over the irregular forces in eastern Ukraine to get them to lay down their arms and leave the buildings they have seized.  The President and the Chancellor agreed that the United States and Europe are prepared to take further measures if this de-escalation does not occur in short order.  The leaders also stressed their support for Ukraine’s May 25 presidential elections.

  • FACT SHEET: Affordable Care Act by the Numbers

    The Affordable Care Act is working.  It is giving millions of middle class Americans the health care security they deserve, it is slowing the growth of health care costs and it has brought transparency and competition to the Health Insurance Marketplace.

    HEALTH CARE BY THE NUMBERS

    • 8 million people signed up for private insurance in the Health Insurance Marketplace. For states that have Federally-Facilitated Marketplaces, 35 percent of those who signed up are under 35 years old and 28 percent are between 18 and 34 years old, virtually the same youth percentage that signed up in Massachusetts in their first year of health reform.
    • 3 million young adults gained coverage thanks to the Affordable Care Act by being able to stay on their parents plan.
    • 3 million more people were enrolled in Medicaid and CHIP as of February, compared to before the Marketplaces opened. Medicaid and CHIP enrollment continues year-round.
    • 5 million people are enrolled in plans that meet ACA standards outside the Marketplace, according to a CBO estimate. When insurers set premiums for next year, they are required to look at everyone who enrolled in plans that meet ACA standards, both on and off the Marketplace.
    • 5.7 million people will be uninsured in 2016 because 24 States have not expanded Medicaid.

    HEALTH CARE COST GROWTH IS LOWEST IN DECADES

    • Health care costs are growing at the slowest level on record: Since the law passed, real per capita health care spending is estimated to have grown at the lowest rate on record for any three-year period and less than one-third the long-term historical average stretching back to 1960. This slower growth in spending is reflected in Medicare, Medicaid, and private insurance. 
    • CBO projects the deficit will shrink more and premiums will be lower than expected: CBO previously estimated that the ACA will reduce the deficit by $1.7 trillion over two decades, and, just this week, CBO concluded that lower-than-expected Marketplace premiums and other recent developments will cut $104 billion from our deficit over the next ten years. The CBO report also projects that lower-than-expected premiums will help to save $5 billion this year, and that lower premiums will persist in the years ahead, remaining 15 percent below projections by 2016 (the only year in which CBO provides a precise estimate).
    • Medicare spending growth is down: Medicare per capita spending is growing at historically low rates.  This week, for the fifth straight year, the CBO reduced its projections for Medicare spending over the next 10 years – this time by $106 billion.  CBO projects that Medicare and Medicaid costs in 2020 will be $180 billion below its 2010 estimates.  Recent economic research suggests that the ACA’s reforms to Medicare may have “spillover effects” that reduce costs and improve quality across the health care system, not just in Medicare. 

     THE SECURITY OF HEALTH INSURANCE FOR MILLIONS OF MIDDLE CLASS FAMILIES

    • Up to 129 million Americans with pre-existing conditions – including up to 17 million children – no longer have to worry about being denied health coverage or charged higher premiums because of their health status.
    • 71 million Americans with private insurance have gained coverage for at least one free preventive health care service such as mammograms, birth control, or immunizations in 2011 and 2012.
    • In 2013, 37 million people with Medicare received at least one preventive service at no out of pocket cost.
    • Approximately 60 million Americans have gained expanded mental health and substance use disorder benefits and/or federal parity protections.
    • Since the health care law was enacted, almost 8 million seniors have saved nearly $10 billion on prescription drugs as the health care law closes Medicare’s “donut hole.”
    • 105 million Americans no longer have to worry about having their health benefits cut off after they reach a lifetime limit.
  • President Obama Signs Montana Disaster Declaration

    Today, the President declared a major disaster in the State of Montana and ordered federal aid to supplement state and local recovery efforts in the area affected by ice jams and flooding during the period of March 1-16, 2014.

    Federal funding is available to state and eligible local governments and certain private nonprofit organizations on a cost-sharing basis for emergency work and the repair or replacement of facilities damaged by the ice jams and flooding in the counties of Broadwater, Dawson, Golden Valley, Jefferson, Lake, Musselshell, Park, Pondera, Prairie, Ravalli, Richland, Rosebud, Sanders, Stillwater, and Wheatland.

    Federal funding is also available on a cost-sharing basis for hazard mitigation measures statewide. 

    W. Craig Fugate, Administrator, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Department of Homeland Security, named Gary R. Stanley as the Federal Coordinating Officer for federal recovery operations in the affected area.

    FEMA said additional designations may be made at a later date if requested by the state and warranted by the results of further damage assessments.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION MEDIA SHOULD CONTACT:  FEMA NEWS DESK AT (202) 646-3272 OR FEMA-NEWS-DESK@DHS.GOV

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