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|News from Representative McEachin |
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This week, I wanted to start off by thanking the National Resource Defense Council for their report on the importance of renewable energy.
Additionally, I wanted to share more on the letter I recently sent to the Bon Secours Richmond Community Hospital President.
I also have some exciting updates for expectant parents or those with young children, as Virginia will now provide coverage for doulas and will receive funding to help parents afford diapers.
For those of you with student debt, I am pleased to share that the applications for Student Debt Relief are now open.
Lastly, I wanted to remind you of upcoming deadlines for several district programs, including the Eco Heroes Program and the Congressional App Challenge.
Thanks, National Resource Defense CouncilI want to thank the National Resource Defense Council for their report about the importance of renewable energy and the imminent dangers posed by continued reliance on fossil fuels. They rightly noted that our government in many ways subsidizes oil and gas companies even as more frequent severe weather events cost lives, livelihoods, and communities.I appreciated the acknowledgment of my legislation with Rep. Castor, the People Over Petroleum Act, which would eliminate eleven of the most egregious subsidies enjoyed by the industry. If we want to successfully address climate change to leave an inhabitable earth for our children and grandchildren, we need to begin minimizing financial incentives for oil and gas companies.
Letter to Bon Secours Richmond Community Hospital President
Earlier this month, I met with Bryan Lee, President of Bon Secours Richmond Community Hospital, to discuss a recent New York Times article. According to this article, it appears that Bon Secours is taking advantage of a discounted drug system for low-income individuals, charging insurance companies the full price, and not reinvesting the savings back into their facilities and services. Following this meeting, I sent a letter expressing my concerns.During the meeting, Mr. Lee explained that the reason Richmond Community has slashed services is due to a lack of demonstrated need by the community. According to the American Academy of Family Physicians and other reputable sources, poverty and low-income status are associated with numerous adverse health outcomes such as shorter life expectancy, higher infant mortality rates, and higher death rates from many diseases, including those related to cardiovascular and kidney health. Seeing a lower volume of patients in disadvantaged communities speaks to the barriers people face in accessing health care—rather than the absence of need for health care.I hope Bon Secours will review these troubling circumstances and make needed improvements. I am also investigating what possible solutions we can develop at the federal level. I am committed to ensuring that all patients throughout my district and the Commonwealth have access to comprehensive medical care.
Pilot Program to Distribute Diapers to Parents in Need
I am pleased to announce that the Virginia Community Action Project (VACAP) will receive $1,200,000 through the Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) Diaper Distribution Demonstration and Research Pilot.Using the $1.2 million awarded from the Diaper Distribution Pilot, VACAP will pilot and research the delivery of diapers and wraparound services to families across the Commonwealth.Diapers are essential for the health and well-being of babies and toddlers but can be a costly challenge for struggling families. By increasing access to diapers, this pilot program will provide families with some security and peace of mind while easing a significant financial burden. Diapers are not optional equipment for babies and toddlers. This program and federal funding are welcome news and will make a meaningful difference for struggling parents in our Commonwealth.
Doula Services Covered by Medicaid in Virginia
Virginia has become the fourth state to cover doula services for pregnant and post-partum women served by Medicaid. Doulas have been shown to improve outcomes for moms and babies and will be able to offer their valuable services to over 22,000 pregnant women in Virginia. Women interested in receiving these doula services can reach out to maternal care organizations like Urban Baby Beginnings and Birth in Color RVA. I am pleased to see Medicaid add these services which can help reduce the maternal mortality rate, and support mothers and babies.
Student Loan Relief Application Now Available
Too many students struggle under the burden of student loans. I am so pleased that applications for President Biden’s partial student loan relief plan is now open. This week, the application for student loan relief has gone live and students can begin the process here.To be eligible, borrowers must have loans held by the Department of Education and must make less than $125,000 individually or $250,000 for families.
Eco-Heroes Registration Opening!
Our Eco Heroes Challenge for budding environmentalists is now open. This is an educational and fun opportunity for young people in our district to make a difference by engaging in age-appropriate tasks to improve the environment and learn more about sustainability. This year the Eco-Heroes program is also open to middle schoolers in the district.All registered students will be sent a checklist of activities to complete that will teach students the value of environmental sustainability and will show them that through small changes, regular people can have a huge impact. Students can register at: https://mceachin.house.gov/eco-heroes-program.
Congressional App Challenge
There’s less then 2 weeks left for talented and creative VA-04 students in our district to submit an original computer app to our annual Computer App challenge contact. Find more information here.
If you want to stay up-to-date on all of that my office is doing, I encourage you to follow along on our social media channels: Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.Please remember that my office is always here to help if you have a question or need assistance. You can reach us using the contact information below and we will do everything we can to connect you with the resources you need.I look forward to hearing from you soon!
A. Donald McEachin
Member of Congress
Virginia’s 4th District