Hearing Advocates Prepare for New Administration and New Congress
Patients hope to build on monumental doubling of cosponsors/endorsements of the Medicare Hearing Health Care Enhancement Act (H.R.1665/S.2352)
(Washington, DC- December 3, 2008) As Washington prepares for a new Administration, the American Academy of Audiology and their coalition of national hearing health care patient organizations want to thank their 108 cosponsors for supporting the Medicare Hearing Health Care Enhancement Act (H.R. 1665). This more than doubles our support from the last Congress and gives us incredible momentum as we welcome new supporters into the 111th Congress.
Introduced by Congressman Mike Ross (D-AR), this legislation has the enthusiastic support of every national patient organization including the National Association of the Deaf, the Hearing Loss Association of America, the American Association of People with Disabilities, the National Rural Health Care Association, the American Tinnitus Association, the National Deaf Blind Association, the National Cued Speech Association, the American Association of Medical Professionals, and most recently the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Alliance, a national coalition of fifteen professional and consumer organizations.
“This is a huge credit to our efforts over the past two years in which we energized our patient base and called on Congress to act on this important legislation,” stated Patrick Feeney, Ph.D., President of the American Academy of Audiology. “As Congress looks to find ways to save money and provide quality care for our nation’s senior population, this legislation would be a major step toward offering what the FEHBP and VA already offer their patients.”
“Along with the financial and automotive industry, Congress is beginning to look into payment pyramid structures that impact access to patients,” stated Feeney. This benefit would simply equate federal policy by instituting the same protections already offered to patients under the FEHBP and the VA.
Congress is expected to reconvene in the coming months with health care reform at the top of the agenda. This patient protection is expected to continue its momentum and receive major consideration given the support from the 108 districts across the country. “It's clear that our nation’s seniors want the ability to access hearing health care services and they hope the new Administration and the new Congress will help lift these restrictions,” stated Feeney.
Spirits were lifted even further last week when we learned of Senator Tom Daschle’s (D-SD) selection as the new Secretary of Health and Human Services in President–elect Obama’s new Administration. “This is great news considering his previous support of our issue, his interest in the profession of audiology and his close ties with our Senate sponsor, Senator Tim Johnson (D-SD), said Feeney.” Senator Johnson’s companion legislation (S. 2352) currently has 6 cosponsors.