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News & Press: Administration News

White House Business Update: Listening to Business

Monday, July 08, 2013  
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Before the Fourth of July festivities formally begin, we wanted to send a quick note and update you on some recent news related to the President’s agenda for job creation and long-term economic competitiveness. In this issue:

  • Important updates on implementation of the Affordable Care Act
  • Senate action and the economic benefits of immigration reform
  • The President’s plan for climate change
  • The President’s trip to Africa and spurring investment in the sub-Saharan region

We hope you find the below useful and of interest. Please do not hesitate to be in touch if we can be of assistance in any way.

Happy Independence Day,

Ari and Cesi

Important Updates on Implementation of the Affordable Care Act

The Administration remains on target to open the Health Insurance Marketplace on October 1, where small businesses and ordinary Americans will be able to go to one place to learn about their coverage options and make side-by-side comparisons of each plan’s price and benefits before they make their decision. (Learn more about that at

In implementing the law, we have said time and again that we would listen to the concerns of the business community and make changes as needed. In our ongoing discussions with many of you, we have heard that you need the time to get this right. We have heard you, and are making two changes as a result:

  • First, we are cutting red tape and simplifying the reporting process. We have heard the concern that the reporting called for under the law about each worker’s access to and enrollment in health insurance requires new data collection systems and coordination. So we plan to re-vamp and simplify the reporting process. Some of this detailed reporting may be unnecessary for businesses that more than meet the minimum standards in the law. We will convene employers, insurers, and experts to propose a smarter system and, in the interim, suspend reporting for 2014.
  • Second, we are giving businesses more time to comply. Since employer responsibility payments can only be assessed based on this new reporting, payments won’t be collected for 2014. This allows employers the time to test the new reporting systems and make any necessary adaptations to their health benefits while staying the course toward making health coverage more affordable and accessible for their workers.

Just like our effort to turn the 21 page application for health insurance into a 3 page application, we are working hard to adapt and to be flexible in employer and insurer reporting as we implement the law. The majority of businesses today provide health insurance to their workers and we want to make sure it is easy for others to do so. It’s also important to remember that most companies will not be affected by these new changes: 96 percent of firms aren’t affected because they have less than 50 employees and are already exempt under the Affordable Care Act. And roughly 95 percent of firms with more than 50 employees already offer health insurance benefits.

You can find more information about these changes here.

Senate Action and the Economic Benefits of Immigration Reform

Last week, the Senate passed an immigration reform bill with broad, bipartisan support, bringing us a critical step closer to fixing our broken immigration system. Business leaders applauded its passage, noting how immigration reform would benefit our economy. That point of view is supported by two recent independent studies:

  • The independent Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released its score of the Senate’s bipartisan immigration bill, finding that fixing our immigration system would reduce federal deficits by about $200 billion over the next 10 years, and about $700 billion in the second decade. Simply put, the immigration bill passed by the Senate last week would shrink the deficit and grow the economy.
  • The Social Security Office of the Chief Actuary, an independent body, released an analysis of the Senate-passed legislation, showing that that commonsense immigration reform will strengthen Social Security over the long-term. Reform will ensure full Social Security solvency through 2035 and reduce Social Security unfunded liabilities by nearly half a trillion dollars through 2087.

The week of the Senate vote, President Obama met with business owners and entrepreneurs to discuss the economic benefits of immigration reform. Many of the business owners in the room were immigrants themselves and are now leading in their communities and creating jobs. As the President said at the meeting, "I think every business leader here feels confident that they'll be in a stronger position to continue to innovate, to continue to invest, to continue to create jobs, and ensure that this continues to be the land of opportunity for generations to come.”

potus meets with business owners to discuss immigration reform

President Barack Obama meets with business owners and entrepreneurs to discuss immigration reform, in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, June 24, 2013. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

The President’s Plan for Climate Change

Last week in a major policy address at Georgetown University, the President unveiled a new plan to fight climate change. Through executive action, the President will move to reduce carbon pollution from power plants, accelerate the United States’ clean energy leadership, invest in green transportation and reduce federal agency fossil fuel consumption as a model.

As the President said in his climate change announcement, "The old rules may say we can’t protect our environment and promote economic growth at the same time, but in America, we’ve always used new technologies -- we’ve used science; we’ve used research and development and discovery to make the old rules obsolete… Recently, more than 500 businesses, including companies like GM and Nike, issued a Climate Declaration, calling action on climate change ‘one of the great economic opportunities of the 21st century.'” Our investments will help spur growth in new industries, increase demand for clean technology products and services and accelerate our clean energy leadership across the world.

The President’s Trip to Africa and Spurring Investment in the Sub-Saharan Region

potus ubongo power plant, tanzania 7.2.13

President Barack Obama delivers remarks at the Ubongo Power Plant in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, July 2, 2013 (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

This week, the president wrapped up a week-long trip to Africa, a visit defined by the opportunity to create a new kind of relationship between the United States and Africa, one rooted in equality and shared interests.

In the final leg of the trip in Tanzania, the President made remarks at a Business Leaders Forum attended by both African and US CEOs. The President also announced two initiatives designed to deepen investment in the sub-Saharan region:

  • Trade Africais a joint effort between the United States government and the East African Community (EAC) and its member states to strengthen and expand trade relationships between the United States and the East African market, including efforts to increase exports and double regional trade.
  • Power Africais a new initiative to double access to electricity in sub-Saharan Africa. This effort is about getting the rules right and creating the proper frameworks so private investment capital can flow. It will focus on helping countries develop newly-discovered resources responsibly, as well as building out power generation and transmission and expanding the reach of off-grid and mini-grid solutions.

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