I’m writing to you on a great day for America.
This morning, I gathered with members of Congress, my administration, and hardworking volunteers from every part of the country to sign comprehensive health care reform into law. Thanks to the immeasurable efforts of so many, the dream of reform is now a reality.
The bill I just signed puts Americans in charge of our own health care by enacting three key changes:
It establishes the toughest patient protections in history.
It guarantees all Americans affordable health insurance options, extending coverage to 32 million who are currently uninsured.
And it reduces the cost of care — cutting over 1 trillion dollars from the federal deficit over the next two decades.
To ensure a successful, stable transition, many of these changes will phase into full effect over the next several years.
But for millions of Americans, many of the benefits of reform will begin this year — some even taking effect this afternoon. Here are just a few examples:
Small businesses will receive significant tax cuts, this year, to help them afford health coverage for all their employees.
Seniors will receive a rebate to reduce drug costs not yet covered under Medicare.
Young people will be allowed coverage under their parents’ plan until the age of 26.
Early retirees will receive help to reduce premium costs.
Children will be protected against discrimination on the basis of medical history.
Uninsured Americans with pre-existing conditions can join a special high-risk pool to get the coverage they need, starting in just 90 days.
Insured Americans will be protected from seeing their insurance revoked when they get sick, or facing restrictive annual limits on the care they receive.
All Americans will benefit from significant new investments to train primary care doctors, nurses, and public health professionals, and the creation of state-level consumer assistance programs to help all patients understand and defend our new rights.
As I’ve said many times, and as I know to be true, this astounding victory could not have been achieved without your tireless efforts.
So as we celebrate this great day, I want to invite you to add your name where it belongs: alongside mine as a co-signer of this historic legislation. Organizing for America will record the names of co-signers as a permanent commemoration of those who came together to make this moment possible — all of you who refused to give up until the dream of many generations for affordable, quality care for all Americans was finally fulfilled.
So, if you haven’t yet, please add your name as a proud health care reform co-signer today:
Please accept my thanks for your voice, for your courage, and for your indispensable partnership in the great work of creating change.
History, and I, are in your debt.
President Barack Obama
Wednesday, March 24, 2010
Friday, March 5, 2010
End Human Trafficking in the U.S.
Sponsored by: Covenant House
Human trafficking is modern-day slavery. Prevalent even in the United States, it's one of the fastest growing criminal industries in the world, and homeless youth are especially vulnerable.
Human trafficking subjects victims to violence, fraud and coercion for sexual exploitation or other forced labor. There are hundreds of thousands of victims in the U.S., including scores of foreign nationals and internally trafficked minors involved in prostitution.
Criminal operators often target homeless children, and America's streets are teaming with dangerous predators -- brutal pimps, gangs and pornographers.
These human traffickers buy and sell children, stripping them of their freedom. Pledge to help end human trafficking in the United States by learning to identify victims and report incidents.
Learn the signs. A victim often:
* Exhibits injuries, withdrawn behavior, depression and/or fear.
* Is malnourished and/or inappropriately dressed.
* Shows signs of drug addiction.
* Demonstrates a sudden change in attire, behavior, or material possessions (for example, expensive items).
* Makes references to sexual situations that are beyond age-specific norms.
* Has a "boyfriend" or "girlfriend" who is noticeably older (10+ years).
* Demonstrates an inability to attend school on a regular basis.
* Chronically runs away from home or makes references to frequent travel to other cities.
* Lacks control over their schedule and/or identification documents.
How to respond:
* In the case of an immediate emergency in the U.S., call 911. In other countries, call your local emergency access number.
* If you know kids in danger of homelessness in the U.S., encourage them to call Covenant House's Nineline at 1-800-999-9999.
* You can report suspected trafficking crimes in the U.S. by calling the Human Trafficking Resource Center at 1-888-373-7888.