The Steve Gleason Enduring Voices Act permanently fixes the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services policy that limited access to speech generation devices for people with degenerative diseases
WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Bill Cassidy (R-LA) have introduced bipartisan legislation to build upon the successes of the Steve Gleason Act of 2015. The Steve Gleason Enduring Voices Act permanently fixes the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services policy that limited access to speech generating devices (SGD) for people with degenerative diseases.
“Speech-generating devices aren’t a luxury for people affected by diseases like ALS and Parkinson’s—they’re a lifeline. These tools are crucial to helping people lead independent lives and stay connected to their communities,” said Klobuchar. “Our bipartisan legislation will ensure access to these life-changing devices for those who need them.”
Representatives Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) and John Larson (D-CT) have introduced companion legislation in the house.
Klobuchar and former Senator David Vitter (R-LA) introduced the bipartisan Steve Gleason Act of 2016 to make the SGD exception from Medicare’s capped rental rule permanent fixture. The bill would make this critical medical equipment more accessible and affordable for patients living with speech and communication disabilities resulting from conditions such as ALS, stroke, cerebral palsy, spinal cord injury, Rett Syndrome, and others. Klobuchar and Cassidy's Steve Gleason Act of 2015 created the SGD exception, but has a sunset date of October 1, 2018.
The Steve Gleason Act is named for New Orleans Saints safety Steve Gleason who lives with ALS. Since being diagnosed with ALS, Gleason has since needed to use a wheel chair and lost his ability to speak. Gleason’s SGD has allowed him to regain his ability to communicate.