House Majority Leader, Kevin McCarthy, the “corner cop” who signals which bills will get activity in July, seems to be missing a proposal that Erik Paulsen has talked about for months.
At the start of the session, the House and Senate seemed to be united in advancing the Steve Gleason Act when House Republican Conference Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA), Rep. Erik Paulsen (R-MN), and Senator David Vitter (R-LA) promoted the bill that ensures patients have access to speech generating devices (SGDs).
January 30, 2015
“We live in a 21st-century world in which innovative technologies empower millions of Americans living with degenerative disabilities to effectively communicate. Unfortunately, shortsighted and cumbersome CMS policies have limited their ability to benefit from tools that help lead to independent, productive lives. After hearing from the ALS community, including Steve Gleason, an individual whose perseverance and commitment to expanding access to speech generating devices is inspiring, we continue our efforts to advocate for these men and women in Congress. All Americans living with ALS and other degenerative diseases should have the opportunity to communicate with family, friends, care providers and the outside world, and this legislation will make that a possibility. It will help millions of men and women utilize technologies that can tremendously improve their quality of life. Together we are united in standing up for all people who are suffering from these CMS policies.”
Senator Vitter did his part … S. 984 was approved by the Senate on April 22, 2015.
All they needed was for the House to take action.
However, action is not swift with this Republican-controlled House.
But finally in June, Erik Paulsen’s committee took action
Jun 2, 2015
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Steve Scalise (R-La.) released the following statement today applauding the U.S. House Committee on Ways and Means for favorably reporting the Steve Gleason Act of 2015. The Steve Gleason Act of 2015 is named in honor of the Team Gleason founder and former New Orleans Saints player diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). The bill creates reforms to provide more independence and hope to those with debilitating diseases, such as ALS, Parkinson’s, stroke and traumatic brain injuries.
It’s now July and the House still does not even have it listed on the Majority Leader’s agenda … a bill that will probably pass with over 400 votes … yet, it’s not on the Majority Leader’s agenda.
So what have been the priorities of the Republican-controlled House ?
Well, they did rename a couple of Post Offices last month as well as approved H.R.893 – Boys Town Centennial Commemorative Coin Act … oh, on the same day that the House Ways and Means Committee approved the Steve Gleason Act, it also approved the Protect Medical Innovation Act (H.R. 160) and Protecting Seniors’ Access to Medicare Act (H.R. 1190).
For those that don’t recognize these impressively named bills, H.R. 160 repeals the Medical Device EXCISE Tax which is needed to fund ObamaCare while H.R. 1190 repeals the sections of the
ACA that implement the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB).
So, yes, you see the priorities … the Republican-controlled House is willing to increase the debt by $31.5 BILLION in order to “Defang ObamaCare” … but very reluctant to allow a vote that might spend $28.8 Million for ALS patients.
So, when you heard Paul Ryan (R-WI-01), the Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, say on Face the Nation, “This law’s going to collapse under its own weight. I am as motivated as ever before to repeal and replace this law, and that’s what we’re working on”; what he is saying is that the GOP objective is to deny funding, forcing ObamaCare to collapse.
And who wins by this … well, the first beneficiary of this is the medical device makers who have had five years to set their prices considing the excise tax … so this tax cut becomes a windfall to the industry.
Let’s tell Congress to get to work … send your Member of Congress an email … it’s time to quit wasting time with the “Defang ObamaCare” bills that are certain to be vetoed and demand a vote on S. 984, the Steve Gleason Act.