The Steve Gleason Enduring Voices Act Passed Out of Energy & Commerce Committee
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Steve Gleason Enduring Voices Act (H.R. 2465) passed out of the full Energy and Commerce yesterday with a voice vote. This bill, introduced by Representatives John Larson (D-CT), Cathy McMorris Rogers (R-WA), and House Majority Whip Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA), would make coverage of medically necessary speech generating devices (SGD) under “routinely purchased durable medical equipment” permanent under the Medicare program, protecting beneficiaries’ access to critical means of communication with their loved ones and medical providers.
“The Steve Gleason Enduring Voices Act is now one step closer to becoming law and I’d like to thank Rep. McMorris Rodgers for her leadership on this critical bill. This legislation would protect access to speech generating devices for the millions of beneficiaries suffering from ALS and other degenerative diseases. I’d like to thank all of our partners at the ALS Association and Connecticut’s own Center for Medicare Advocacy for their continued commitment. The advancement of this bill through the Committee process is a testament to the hard work and dedication of Team Gleason and Mr. Gleason, who continues to advocate on the behalf of others who are battling ALS and other conditions,” said Larson. “I urge Congress to bring this important bill to the floor for passage.”
Background: The Enduring Voices Act is named after former NFL player Steve Gleason, who has become a champion of those with ALS after being diagnosed with the disease himself in 2011. After learning about CMS regulatory changes that limited access to speech generation devices for those on Medicare, Mr. Gleason wrote an open letter to Congress and CMS in July of 2014. In September of 2014, more than 200 Members of the House and Senate—Democrats and Republicans—sent a letter to CMS to investigate this arbitrary decision.
In July of 2015, the Steve Gleason Act of 2015 was signed into law to protect patient access to speech generating devices. However, those protections are slated to expire October 1, 2018. On September 13, 2017, the bill was voted favorably out of the Energy and Commerce’s Health Subcommittee. The Steve Gleason Enduring Voices Act of 2017 would build upon the successes of the 2015 law to permanently protect these medically necessary devices.