Senate HELP Committee Passes EHDI Legislation; Bill Can Now Proceed to Senate Floor for Final Passage
On April 26th, the Senate Health Education Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee considered and passed the Early Hearing Detection and Intervention Act (S. 652) along with three other health care bills. HELP Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-TN) applauded the efforts of the bill’s sponsors Senators Rob Portman (R-OH) and Tim Kaine (D-VA) in putting forward this important bipartisan legislation. Senator Tim Kaine thanked the HELP Committee for their favorable consideration of this legislation. He also spoke about the critical importance of EHDI programs for children, noting that 2 to 3 out of every 1,000 children in the United States are born with hearing loss. Senator Kaine discussed the successful implementation of EHDI programs since original EHDI bill was passed in 1999. At that time, less than 50% of newborns were screened for hearing loss. That number has increased to approximately 98% of newborns screened nationally. Senator Kaine said that 99.2% of newborns were now screened in his home state of Virginia. In closing, Senator Kaine praised EHDI programs as “an example of a federal law that works.” Now that the EHDI bill has been approved by the Senate HELP Committee, it will move on to the full Senate for final approval. The Academy appreciates the efforts of the Senate HELP Committee to make this legislation a top priority in the 115th Congress. We also want to thank the grassroots efforts of dedicated Academy members who have worked to advocate for this legislation, and ask that you continue to contact your legislators to urge for the passage of this legislation in both the Senate and House.
Click here to read the statement released by Senators Portman and Kaine on the HELP Committee’s action.