October 22nd is National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day

Nearly 130 people in the U.S. die every day from a drug overdose, and most of those involve prescription opioids or heroin. The majority of people of people who misuse prescription drugs report that they obtained the drugs from family or friends.

But this weekend you can do something about it and help protect your family and friends.

This Saturday, October 22, is National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day, organized by the Drug Enforcement Administration. If you have unneeded or expired prescription drugs at home, you can drop them off at a safe, legal collection site in your neighborhood from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. local time. No questions asked. More than 6.4 million pounds of medication have been collected at past Take-Back Days.

There will more than 5,000 collection sites nationwide, and thousands of state, local, and tribal law enforcement officers will join with parents and community leaders to safely, conveniently, and responsibly dispose of expired or unwanted prescription drugs.

The Office of National Drug Control Policy has been working with Federal agencies and communities to make it easier for communities to set up permanent disposal programs locally. And following the President’s call to action last year, private organizations have taken steps to make it more convenient to safely dispose of unneeded drugs throughout the year. For example:

President Obama has made clear that addressing the prescription opioid and heroin epidemic is a priority for his Administration. Take-Back Day is a critical part of the Administration’s efforts to address the opioid epidemic. To fully address the crisis, however, Congress must act to provide more funding to make lifesaving treatment available to everyone who seeks it. The President has called for $1.1 billion in new funding for states to help expand access to treatment. Every day that passes without Congressional action to provide these additional resources is a missed opportunity to save lives.

While the Administration waits on Congress, Federal agencies have been using their authority to take every available action they can. The Administration has been working to expand community-based efforts to prevent drug use, expand access to effective treatment, support the millions of Americans in recovery, and pursue targeted enforcement activities.

On Saturday, you can help make your community safer by participating in Take-Back Day in your area.

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Behind the Scenes: The Affordable Care Act

Today, President Obama heads to Miami, Florida to talk about the progress we’ve made for Americans across the country since the Affordable Care Act became the law of the land over six years ago. To help celebrate this landmark legislation, we’re releasing never-before-seen footage from the day that the Affordable Care Act was passed and the day it was signed into law. Take a look:

The footage includes: President Obama traveling to the Capitol to speak to the Democratic Members of the House and Senate the day before the vote; the President watching the vote with staff in the Roosevelt Room before speaking to the nation on its passage; and the President hosting a reception in the White House residence to thank the staff who worked alongside him in bringing the legislation over the finish line. 

The footage also follows the physical legislation from the Capitol to the Office of the Vice President to an East Room signing ceremony. After signing it into law, President Obama welcomes the individuals who stood with him at the signing ceremony into the Oval Office.

Learn more about the progress we’ve made on health care thanks to the Affordable Care Act.

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What Natoma's Letter Means to President Obama

Watch President Obama’s remarks in Miama, Florida at 1:55pm ET.

Hanging on a wall outside the Oval Office, there’s a framed letter from a woman named Natoma Canfield. 

For years, Natoma did everything right. She bought health insurance and paid her premiums on time. But one day, the fear of so many became her reality: She was diagnosed with cancer. She fought for her health and had been living cancer-free for some time, but her insurance company kept raising her insurance rates, year after year. She needed the coverage, but she couldn’t afford it. So she had to surrender her health plan and live merely on the hope that she would stay healthy. 

She shared her story in a letter to President Obama in 2009. In the following year, during the heated political fight to pass the health care law, President Obama carried Natoma’s letter with him every day as a reminder that health care reform would help change the lives of millions of people who were clinging to hope.  

President Obama will be talking about people like Natoma today in Miami at 1:55 pm ET: the brothers and sisters, moms and dads, and sons and daughters across America whose lives have been improved, and even saved, because we worked together to pass and implement the Affordable Care Act.

Natoma's Letter

A letter from Natoma Canfield, a woman from Ohio that President Barack Obama met who didn’t have health insurance, hangs on the wall in the hall between the Oval Office and the President’s Private Office in the West Wing. June 28, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson)

After more than six years of this landmark law, let’s look back at the progress we’ve made:

Natoma's Letter

Natoma’s Letter

Twenty million Americans have gained health coverage – not counting the 3 million more children gaining coverage during this period of time. More than 90 percent of Americans have health insurance for the first time ever. Up to 129 million people who could have otherwise been denied insurance because of a preexisting condition now have access to coverage – even as we have seen the slowest growth in health care prices in 50 years. And, the quality, coordination, and effectiveness of the health care we receive has improved.  

Just last year, Natoma wrote another letter. She thanked the President for the Affordable Care Act and told him that she’s remained cancer-free. Her note now joins a collection of letters to the President from people who have been helped by the law. People like Astrid from North Carolina, who was diagnosed with a brain tumor and was able to get the surgery she needed. Or Ann Marie from Connecticut who was able to detect an early stage of breast cancer thanks to better preventive care.

You can read these letters and more right here.

As someone who has worked alongside the President, I can tell you that these are the letters that inspired him to put so much work into making health care reform a reality. 

So read these letters and tune in today to hear how far we’ve come since we passed the Affordable Care Act, and what more is needed to further improve the health of the nation.

Jeanne Lambrew is the Deputy Assistant to the President for Health Policy.

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Rubio for Senate Campaign Releases “Democrats for Marco” Coalition

The Rubio for Senate campaign today introduced the “Democrats for Marco” coalition, a team of nearly 90 people who are campaigning for Marco in his bid for re-election

The post Rubio for Senate Campaign Releases “Democrats for Marco” Coalition appeared first on Marco Rubio for Senate.

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How We're Helping to Make Air Travel Better


This year, more than 700 million passengers are expected to board 9 million domestic airline flights in America. The sheer volume of people, flights, and miles underscores how fundamental air travel is — not just to the American economy, but to the lives of so many people across the country. That’s why, when American families and workers travel, they deserve to know exactly what they’re buying.

Today, the Department of Transportation is announcing a series of new executive actions to spur competition in the airline industry — and improve air travel for millions of American consumers. These actions will help consumers know how airlines are performing, make sure consumers don’t have to pay for services they don’t receive, and help consumers find the best flight options. That will create a more competitive market, with better outcomes for American consumers.

These actions are a direct answer to the President’s Executive Order that called for more competition that helps consumers, workers, and entrepreneurs — and they address an issue he really cares about:

Here’s how these new actions will help consumers:

1. Making refunds required for delayed baggage

Passengers should not be charged for services they do not receive. For example, if passengers are charged a fee by an airline for their checked baggage, they should expect to receive that baggage in a timely manner. The Administration has already taken steps to require airlines to reimburse bag fees when bags are lost; today, DOT is issuing an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to require airlines to refund baggage fees when a passenger’s luggage is substantially delayed. 

2. No more data cherry-picking

the big U.S. airlines would be required to report performance for any plane that flies under their banner — ensuring that the large carriers have to faithfully report on all domestic flights under their brand, not just the ones they select. To meet this goal, the new rule will require the big airlines to report data for flights of their domestic code-share partners (i.e. flights by generally smaller, regional airlines that are sold under the brand of the larger airline) to make these airline performance reports more complete.

3. Prohibiting undisclosed bias by airlines and online ticket agents

Prohibit online ticket agents — the platforms on which many consumers compare and book flights — from undisclosed biasing of flight offerings on behalf of certain airlines to make shopping for air travel more transparent and fair for consumers.

4. Better protection for travelers with disabilities

Require large U.S. airlines to report on how often they mishandle wheelchairs so air travelers with disabilities can easily compare carriers and make informed travel decisions.

5. Giving passengers a clearer picture of baggage delivery

Overhaul the methodology large U.S. airlines use to report mishandled baggage, so it better informs passengers of their actual chances of receiving their checked baggage in an acceptable and timely manner. Instead of tallying passenger reports of lost baggage and comparing that to the overall number of travelers, airlines will be required to report the total number of mishandled checked bags and the total number of checked bags.

Today’s actions build on a strong record of standing up for airline passengers. Under President Obama, the federal government has provided a substantial boost to airline passenger rights and protections. Today’s actions build on rules issued in December 2009 and April 2011 aimed at enhancing airline passenger protections.

The 2009 and 2011 rules prohibited airlines from forcing passengers to remain stranded onboard aircraft on the tarmac for more than three hours on domestic flights and more than four hours on international flights, with exceptions for safety, security and air traffic control related-reasons. The tarmac delay rule has virtually eliminated excessive tarmac delays.

The Department’s pro-passenger rules have also made travel simpler and easier for consumers in a number of other ways including by:

  • Requiring airlines to reimburse passengers for bag fees if their bags are lost
  • Allowing passengers to hold a reservation made directly with an airline without payment or cancel a reservation within 24 hours without penalty, if the reservation is made one week or more prior to a flight’s departure date
  • Providing consumers who are involuntarily bumped from oversold flights with greater compensation
  • Requiring carriers to disclose fees for baggage, meals, canceling or changing reservations, and other optional services on their websites
  • Requiring airlines to promptly notify consumers of delays of over 30 minutes, as well as cancellations and diversions
  • Mandating that advertised and listed airfares must be the entire fare to be paid by the consumer, including all government taxes, in every advertised price

The Administration has also had a get-tough approach to enforcing consumer protection rules which has led to millions of dollars in sanctions. Since 2009, the Department has taken more enforcement actions, through cease and desist orders, than in the preceding 12 years combined­. These orders have assessed over $32.5 million in civil penalties for violations of airline consumer protection and disability rules. Among these are precedent-setting orders against airlines for violations of rules regarding the enplaning and deplaning of travelers with disabilities, the fair treatment of family members and survivors in the wake of aviation disasters, and rights of passengers during tarmac delays.

What’s next?

Have thoughts or questions about these actions? The Administration will be hosting a live Q&A today at 1:00 PM EST on FlyerTalk. Officials from the Department of Transportation will be on hand to chat. Learn how you can join in here.

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Rubio for Senate Announces “Women for Marco” Coalition

The Rubio for Senate campaign today announced the “Women for Marco” coalition, a team of over 400 women from across Florida who endorse Marco’s record of accomplishment and service.

The post Rubio for Senate Announces “Women for Marco” Coalition appeared first on Marco Rubio for Senate.

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