POLITICAL NOTEBOOK: Johnson, Carter on different sides on health care

Health care is on the minds of both candidates in the U.S. House District 4 race, although they are different sides of the debate.

Rep. Hank Johnson lauded the key provisions of the new Patient’s Bill of Rights that take effect this week as part of historic health care reform passed by Congress this year, but in a press release he said some insurance companies are still trying to put profits over people.

New rules now prohibit insurance companies from cancelling coverage when a consumer becomes sick, the denial of coverage or restriction of benefits for children who suffer from a pre-existing condition and lifetime limits on coverage.

“The fact that some insurance companies are refusing to issue new child-only policies because the companies will no longer be able to deny coverage to children with pre-existing conditions is not only brazen but based upon greed,” Johnson, a Democrat said. “To make a business decision on the backs of children with pre-existing conditions is unconscionable. I hope insurance companies will honor their commitment and work with us to ensure that pre-existing condition exclusions for children will soon be a thing of the past. ...

“Republican threats to dismantle the health insurance law is further proof that their agenda is a cynical ploy to protect profits over people.”

This week, Johnson’s Republican rival Liz Carter will host a health care town hall meeting featuring Dr. Jeffrey B. English, a neurologist who is the clinic research director at the Multiple Sclerosis Center of Atlanta.

English is expected to review how the new health care legislation will affect lives.

“There are key issues that every citizen and business owner needs to be aware of and understand,” said Carter, who will square off against Johnson on November ballots.

The town hall meeting is scheduled for 7 to 8:30 p.m. Thursday at Lilburn City Hall.

New tea party in Gwinnett

Gwinnett has a new tea party group.

Steve Ramey, a former House candidate who started the Sons and Daughters of the Founding Fathers in his Lilburn den last year, says the group is converting to a chapter of the Tea Party Patriots.

“We are excited about this transition and becoming more involved in the movement that is taking back America,” Ramey said of the 60-member group now known as the Founding Fathers Tea Party Patriots. “We are also excited about working with Tea Party Patriots as their affiliate in Gwinnett County, which is the national and state umbrella organization for 15 million members nationwide.”

He said the change could give the county a stronger voice in local, state and federal government.

“We are proud to have Steve Ramey and the Sons and Daughters of the Founding Fathers become a part of Tea Party Patriots,” said Julianne Thompson, the Georgia state director for the Tea Party Patriots. “They have done a fantastic job with Constitutional education and getting people involved in the political process that have never been involved before. I know this will be a very successful and active group.”

For more information e-mail Steve Ramey at steveramey@bellsouth.net.

Camie Young can be reached via e-mail at camie.young@gwinnettdailypost.com.