Rep. Vern Buchanan (R-FL)

LONGBOAT KEY, FLORIDA — Congressman Vern Buchanan announced yesterday in a press release that he has co-sponsored the Over-the-Counter Hearing Aid Act to help make hearing aids more affordable for seniors. In the announcement the congressman noted how approximately 50 million people in the US have hearing loss, which is a problem that is particularly acute among seniors.

Rep. Buchanan has represented Florida’s 16th district since 2013,  a district that holds the fourth-highest population of seniors aged 65 and older of any congressional district in the US.

 

“Hearing loss is a major contributor to declining quality of life. I want to make it as easy as possible for seniors to get the help that they need.” –Rep. Vern Buchanan

 

Buchanan, a member of the powerful Ways and Means Committee, has been active on a variety of issues impacting seniors over the years.

 

Support Comes Following Negative Ad Campaign

 

As reported by Hearing News Watch last week, GOP supporters of the OTC hearing aid bill have come under fire in recent weeks from conservative groups for aligning themselves with the legislation backed by Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA).

The Gun Owner’s of America, a pro-gun rights group with more than 1.5 million members, has been highly critical of the bill which it believes could impact sales of amplification devices used by hunters. The Frontiers of Freedom, a non-profit conservative group based in Washington, DC, has even launched a six-figure negative ad campaign against three GOP House members regarding their support of the OTC hearing aid legislation.

Current House members being targeted by the ad campaign include: Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), Michael Burgess (R-TX) and Earl “Buddy” Carter (R-GA). It’s unclear whether the ads will be expanded to target any new co-sponsors such as Rep. Buchanan.

 

 

In comments last week to a local NBC affiliate in Georgia, Rep. Carter accused the “Big Six” hearing aid manufacturers of being the ones behind the attack ads and suggested that he will continue to support the legislation.

Last week the House Energy & Commerce Committee unanimously voted the legislation out of committee and the bill will now go to the full House of Representatives for final consideration.

The OTC legislation is currently endorsed by the Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA), the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP), the Academy of Doctors of Audiology (ADA), the Consumer Technology Association (CTA), Bose, and the Gerontological Society of America.

 

*featured image courtesy heraldtribune

One Response to Florida Congressman the Latest to Co-Sponsor OTC Legislation, Despite Negative Ad Campaign Targeting GOP Supporters

  1. Sal P Calabro, MD says:

    OTC hearing aids are definitely in the the near future. The Big Six may be opposing it now, but in the meantime they are probably retooling to supply them to the market. It is only good business for them to do so. They saw market opportunities with Costco, Sam’s, etc. and supplied them with low priced instruments whose hearing qualities are just as good as the high priced models. There are millions of hearing impaired that would be wearing Hearing aids if the prices were more affordable. They will want to get into this untapped market, in spite of what they are leading you to believe. Audiologists who understand the workings of the market are now unbundling in order to serve the coming wave of new patients. I have seen fully warranted, name brand, new hearing aids for sale on EBay for $3000. These are the same hearing aids I purchased for $7,200. Unwarranted new, name brand hearing aids are available for $1600 or less. Audiologists have to be creative in order to find their niche in this coming new market. Where am I wrong?

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