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senate Bill S. 984

Do Speech Generating Devices Need to be More Accessible Through Medicare?

Argument in favor

Making these devices more accessible would improve the ability of people suffering from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and similarly damaging diseases to communicate and live more independent lives.

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02/26/2016
Many people with disabilities can't get Or hold down jobs. So where else would funding come? Grants and loans only go so for etc.
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Cil's Opinion
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02/27/2017
My son with autism could improve his communication unfortunately it is just to hard to get one.
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RedPiano1's Opinion
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07/20/2015
Emotional arguments aside, I can't think of a reason not to consider these devices durable medical equipment. The issue with using a not for profit org to "take care of this" rather than the federal budget is that they will likely be funded at least partially by federal grants so it effects the budget, just through another window. Why put yet another roadblock in the way of people who need this device? We don't need to add another red tape trail that could likely last longer than the patients have to be able to use them. Haven't they suffered enough?
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Argument opposed

If this is only going to increase the deficit by about $3 million per year, isn’t there a way that these devices could be provided through the public sector or non-profits so the tab doesn't get put on federal budget?

Brent's Opinion
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07/17/2015
Medicare will increase cost and reduce availability.
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Sabra18's Opinion
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07/22/2015
The minute anything is approved to be paid by medicare the cost goes through the roof! Allowing the patients to buy the equipment and then bill medicare would keep costs more realistic. Durable medical devices are a big money making scam that is sucking dollars out of medicare when the patients could directly purchase the equipment for less.
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GrumpyMSgt's Opinion
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08/09/2015
Let sports figures pay for this from their multi million dollar salaries. Or perhaps the tax exempt NF
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What is Senate Bill S. 984?

This bill would make speech generating devices (SGDs) more accessible by changing how Medicare covers and pays for devices when patients need them. Eye tracking and gaze interaction accessories for speech generating devices under this bill would be considered durable medical equipment under Medicare for people with a demonstrated medical need for them.

Payments for these devices could be made on a rental basis or a lump-sum amount. Device costs would be capped if they were issued on or after October 1, 2015 and before October 1, 2019.

Impact

People who would benefit from using SGDs, health insurance companies, and Medicare.

Cost of Senate Bill S. 984

$30.00 Million
A CBO cost estimate found that this bill would increase deficits by about $30 million over the 2015-2025 period, which is about $2.7 million per year.

More Information

In-Depth: Many people who are battling ALS (also known as Lou Gehrig's disease) — including former NFL player Steve Gleason whom this bill is named after — are only able to verbally communicate with the assistance of eye tracking technology and gaze interaction accessories.

Media:

Summary by Eric Revell
(Photo Credit: "SL35 Lightwriter" by MrArmstrong2 - Own work. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons)

AKA

Steve Gleason Act of 2015

Official Title

A bill to amend title XVIII of the Social Security Act to provide Medicare beneficiary access to eye tracking accessories for speech generating devices and to remove the rental cap for durable medical equipment under the Medicare Program with respect to speech generating devices.

bill Progress


  • EnactedJuly 30th, 2015
    The President signed this bill into law
  • The house Passed July 15th, 2015
    Passed by Voice Vote
      house Committees
      Committee on Energy and Commerce
      Health
      Committee on Ways and Means
      Health
  • The senate Passed April 22nd, 2015
    Passed by Voice Vote
    IntroducedApril 16th, 2015

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    Medicare will increase cost and reduce availability.
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    Many people with disabilities can't get Or hold down jobs. So where else would funding come? Grants and loans only go so for etc.
    Like (1)
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    My son with autism could improve his communication unfortunately it is just to hard to get one.
    Like (1)
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    Emotional arguments aside, I can't think of a reason not to consider these devices durable medical equipment. The issue with using a not for profit org to "take care of this" rather than the federal budget is that they will likely be funded at least partially by federal grants so it effects the budget, just through another window. Why put yet another roadblock in the way of people who need this device? We don't need to add another red tape trail that could likely last longer than the patients have to be able to use them. Haven't they suffered enough?
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    This is rounding error in comparison to the measures that should be up for discussion as budget components.
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    Let sports figures pay for this from their multi million dollar salaries. Or perhaps the tax exempt NF
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    WE ARE 18 TRILLION IN DEBT! STOP SPENDING!!! Yes, it would be great to give everybody everything they ever dreamed of having, but who is going to pay for it?
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    Learn sign-language.
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    Americans with disabilities come under the provisions of Medicare.
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    Three million out of a population of three hundred million is one cent per person. They're welcome to my penny if it helps them communicate. This is a very minor issue.
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    My son has one of these, paid for by private insurance, and it is one of his most important possessions. It is inexcusable not to provide these for seniors and others covered by Medicare. The devices are cheaper than ever and provide such an important function. Thank you for passing this!
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    Many people have no way to communicate their needs without these devices. People with speech impairments or other disabilities deserve a voice- literally in this case.
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    And not taxed!
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    The better a person can communicate the better for everyone.
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    Yes. Being able to communicate verbally is empowering and a major quality of life issue. Being wealthy enough to afford this shouldn't be the determinant factor in having one for those in need.
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    People need these devices and communication is a right that shouldn't be denied.
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    The minute anything is approved to be paid by medicare the cost goes through the roof! Allowing the patients to buy the equipment and then bill medicare would keep costs more realistic. Durable medical devices are a big money making scam that is sucking dollars out of medicare when the patients could directly purchase the equipment for less.
    Like
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    Share