Rep. Hank Johnson's E-Newsletter for July 24, 2013

Dear Friends,

Two weeks ago I wrote to you about changes taking place under the Affordable Care Act or Obamacare – especially regarding the new insurance marketplaces that will open for business on Oct. 1 . As I said, whether one supports the law or not, I want to ensure that everyone has accurate information. I will continue providing important information about the law leading up to the sign up period.  

healthcare_gov.jpgIt is important to note that nothing will change for those who are happy with the insurance they already have from their employer, seniors on Medicare, TRICARE or people on Medicaid. Persons using the exchanges will include those who are not currently covered under a plan or are unhappy with their current plan (provided by their employer). The intent is to make the most affordable plans available to everyone. 

Just as House leadership voted for the 38th time to repeal the law to score political points – which I rejected – a new analysis shows that millions of Americans and hundreds of thousands of people in our district are already benefiting from the law. Residents of the district, ranging from young adults to seniors to children with pre-existing conditions, have been receiving critical protections and savings due to the health care law. For more, click HERE. 

BRINGING FUNDS HOME : I’m pleased to announce that the DeKalb Community Service Board has received a $400,000 grant to help residents deal with mental health and substance abuse issues. For more, click HERE. 

WORKING FOR OUR VETERANS : I’m also pleased to announce that Atlanta-area agencies are receiving $4.5 million to help fight veteran homelessness – two of which my office helped directly. This effort is part of nearly $300 million in grants that will help approximately 120,000 homeless and at-risk veterans and their families. Last year, the VA provided about $100 million to assist approximately 50,000 veterans and family members. Nearly 90 percent of the veterans who completed the program in 2012 transitioned to permanent housing. For more, click HERE. 

CHJ_parks_web.jpgPROTECTING OUR NATIONAL PARKS: I was honored this week with the Friend of the National Parks Award from the nonpartisan National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA) for my contribution to protecting and enhancing America’s national parks.  

My support of our national parks is relevant to my participation in the Safe Climate Caucus — it’s part of a quest to protect our environment while encouraging the development of renewable sources of energy. The time to address climate change is now and protecting our beautiful national parks is part of the solution. For more, click HERE. 

100% FOR SENIORS: I’m proud to receive a 100 percent score from the Alliance for Retired Americans for my voting record in the 112th Congress. The Alliance for Retired Americans, a national organization made up of 4 million members, works to guarantee social and economic justice and full civil rights for all citizens. Medicare and Social Security are essential safety net programs for all seniors, and I will always support them with every fiber of my being. For more, click HERE. 

volunteers.jpgA DAY OF CONNECTIONS: It was a pleasure for me and my office to be a part of Rockdale Coalition for Children & Families: A Day of Connections, which held a back-to-school and health screening community resource fair at the Rockdale Career Academy in Conyers. It was a great opportunity for us to share information about the services we provide and for constituents to learn more about the new health care law – the Affordable Care Act. And it doesn’t get much better than helping children prepare to return to school with the school supplies they need. For more, click HERE. 

STUDENT LOAN RATES: Student loan rates doubled July 1 because political games and brinkmanship seems more important in Washington than solving problems. I supported H.R. 1595, Student Loan Relief Act of 2013, which would have prevented the rates from doubling by freezing the rate at 3.4 percent for two years. College students and families across the country are anxiously looking for Congress to act and bring Washington’s latest hostage crisis to an end. We knew this day would come for months and the cost of inaction is well known, yet House leadership spent the final hours of the work week jamming through a bill to increase offshore oil and gas exploration — with hardly a word uttered towards the plight of students. For more, click HERE. 

srwa.jpgSOUTH RIVER WATERSHED ALLIANCE: The July 13 South River Watershed Alliance canoe trip has been rescheduled for Saturday, August 3. There are still a few seats available for this trip. Please call SRWA president Jackie Echols at (404) 285-3756 to sign up. The group will paddle the section of South River in Rockdale County from Lorraine Park and Trail Head/Hwy 138 to Oglesby Road, about 5.5 miles. I hope they have a dry and sunny early August day to enjoy the river. For more, click HERE. 

DIVERGING DIAMOND INTERCHANGE: Construction on the Diverging Diamond Interchange at Jimmy Carter Boulevard and I-85 is underway. Along with the Gwinnett Village Community Improvement District, I’m committed to keep all our local residents and businesses informed of the construction schedule. To see the schedule, lane closures and other construction information, click HERE 

YOUNG PEOPLE MATTER: Young People Matter (YPM), a youth shelter in Tucker that serves homeless and exploited children and young people throughout the state, seeks volunteers.  YPM is holding two volunteer recruiting sessions this weekend: Saturday, July 27 at 1 p.m. and Sunday, July 28 at 1 p.m. at the YPM Center – 4315 Cowan Road, Tucker, GA. For more information, click HERE 

As always, I appreciate your time and feedback. Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to represent you in Congress.

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