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News & Press: Administration News

Your Update from the White House Business Team

Monday, December 2, 2013  
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Friends –

As we head into Thanksgiving, we wanted to share some of the latest news from Washington. In this issue:

  • The President speaking at the annual meeting of the Wall Street Journal CEO Council
  • Treasury Secretary Lew on a 5 country trip to Asia
  • A Council of Economic Advisors issued a new report showing that health care costs are rising at their slowest rate in decades
  • Ensuring small businesses can take advantage of the Affordable Care Act
  • Celebrating small business with Small Business Saturday

We wish you and your families a happy, healthy Thanksgiving and look forward to celebrating the holiday season with you.

As always, contact us with any questions or concerns at

The White House Business Team

Ari, Marisa, and Sam

The President Speaks at the Wall Street Journal CEO Council Annual Meeting

Last Tuesday, President Obama delivered remarks and took questions at the Wall Street Journal CEO Council Annual Meeting in Washington, DC. The President highlighted several sectors of the economy that are showing growth as the recovery continues.

"We refocused on manufacturing exports, and today, our businesses sell more goods and services made in America than ever before around the world. After a decade of shedding jobs, our manufacturing sector has now added about half a million new jobs, and it's led by an American auto industry that has come roaring back after decades of decline.”

The President went on to highlight the importance of higher education, which ensures that more young people get hands-on training and develop important skills – particularly in math, science and engineering – that businesses are looking for. He announced a competitive grant program that will encourage more high schools to partner with colleges and local businesses to better prepare our kids for college or a career.

Watch the entire video here.

President Barack Obama speaks during The Wall Street Journal’s CEO Council meeting Nov. 19, 2013, in Washington

President Barack Obama speaks during The Wall Street Journal’s CEO Council meeting Nov. 19, 2013, in Washington. (Photo byRalph Alswang for The Wall Street Journal)

Secretary Lew Completes a Successful Trip throughout Asia

Treasury Secretary Jack Lew traveled toJapan, Singapore, Malaysia, Vietnam and China last week for meetings with his counterparts on policies which would boost regional growth and global demand. He discussed the important objective of completing the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Agreement negotiations this year, implementing proposed international economic sanctions on Iran and North Korea, and other issues related to combating illicit finance.

See a complete run-down of his trip here.

View all the photos from the Secretary's visit to Japanhere(courtesy of the State Department)

TOKYO, Japan (November 12, 2013) U.S. Secretary of the Treasury Jacob J. Lew greets Japanese Minister of Finance Taro Aso before their meeting

TOKYO, Japan (November 12, 2013) U.S. Secretary of the Treasury Jacob J. Lew greets Japanese Minister of Finance Taro Aso before their meeting. (State Department photo by William Ng/ Public Domain)

New Council of Economic Advisors Report Shows Health Care Spending and Prices Are Growing at Slowest Rate in Decades

The Council of Economic Advisors released a new report which shows that:

1.Health care spending is growing at the slowest rate on record:According to the most recentprojections, real per capita health care spending has grown at an estimated average annual rate of just 1.3 percent over the three years since 2010. This is the lowest rate on record for any three-year period and less than one-third the long-term historical average stretching back to 1965. This slower growth in spending is reflected in Medicare, Medicaid, and private insurance.

Real Per Enrollee Growth in Health Spending by Payer

2.Health care price inflation is at its lowest rate in 50 years:Measured using personal consumption expenditure price indices, inflation for health care goods and services is currently running at just 1 percent on a year-over-year basis, the lowest level since January 1962. (Health care inflation measured using the medical CPI is lower than at any time since September 1972.)

3. The slowdown in health care cost growth is not due solely to the Great Recession; something has changed:The fact that the health cost slowdown has persisted so long even as the economy is recovering, the fact that it is reflected in health care prices – not just utilization or coverage, and the fact that it has also shown up in Medicare – which is more insulated from economic trends, all imply that the current slowdown is the result of more than just the recession and its aftermath. Rather, the slowdown appears to reflect "structural” changes in the United States health care system, a conclusion consistent with asubstantialbodyofrecentresearch.

Monthly Medicare 30-Day

4.The ACA is contributing to the recent slow growth in health care prices and spending and is improving quality of care:ACA provisions that reduce Medicare overpayments to private insurers and medical providers are contributing to the recent slow growth in health care prices and spending. Other ACA reforms are reducing hospital readmission rates (see figure below) and increasing provider participation in payment models designed to promote efficient, high-quality care.

Recent CBO Projections of Medicare and Medicaid Outlays

5. Slower growth in health care costs, thanks in part to the ACA, is likely to have substantial benefits for the Nation’s economy: The recent slow growth in health care spending has substantially improved the long-term Federal budget outlook:The Congressional Budget Office has reduced its projections of future Medicare and Medicaid spending in 2020 by $147 billion (0.6 percent of GDP) since August 2010. This represents about a 10 percent reduction in projected spending on these programs. These revisionsprimarily reflectthe recent slow growth in health care spending.

Read the entire report here.

Your Small Business Corner:

CMS Makes Announcement to Expand Small Business Access to the Health Marketplace

Today, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services announced that they are making changes to ensure small businesses can take advantage of SHOP coverage and the tax credit available to them as soon aspossible through direct enrollment. Small businesses in states with a SHOP Marketplace that’s run by the federal government will be able enroll their employees in coverage through an agent, broker, or insurer that offers a certified SHOP plan and has agreed to conduct enrollment according to HHS standards.

These new changes are one additional way to help small businesses access the new health care options available to them through the Affordable Care Act and will take steps to remove key barriers that small employers have traditionally faced when offering health insurance to their employees. Together, new insurance reforms and the Small Business Health Options Program, the SHOP, will help curb premium growth, and spur competition based on price and quality.

To read more about today’s announcement, please check out the CMS blog.

Saturday, November 30th is Small Business Saturday

The President, Senior Administration Officials, and many members of the Cabinet will be taking part in the more than 1,400 community events across the country, or simply shopping at the local small businesses in their own neighborhoods. Additionally, nearly every federal agency is highlighting the importance of small business owners this week.

Click here to learn more about how the Administration is participating in Small Business Saturday.

President Barack Obama and daughters Malia and Sasha shop for Christmas presents at One More Page

President Barack Obama and daughters Malia and Sasha shop for Christmas presents at One More Page, an independent, neighborhood bookstore in Arlington, Va., on Small Business Saturday, Nov. 24, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

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