BETHESDA, MARYLAND — For nearly 15 years, the Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA) has put its support behind legislation allowing consumers to receive a tax credit for the purchase of hearing aids. The Hearing Aid Assistance Tax Credit Act (S.48), which was recently reintroduced in the US Senate by Dean Heller (R-NV) and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), would provide a $500 tax credit for the purchase of a single hearing aid, or $1,000 for two, once every five years.
Despite multiple versions of the bill being pushed in the US Congress for over a decade, none have passed. Therefore, in 2017, HLAA announced that it has decided to put more focus on efforts and initiatives that it believes will have a greater impact than the hearing aid tax credit legislation.
HLAA Re-Focuses Agenda for 2017
Among the advocacy efforts HLAA has highlighted for the year include:
- Work towards the implementation of recommendations contained within the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine report, Hearing Health Care for Adults: Priorities for Improving Access and Affordability.
- Lend support to legislation that would ensure Medicare coverage for the cost of hearing aids.
- Providing input to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which is currently working on a rule making process that would consider a new category of over-the-counter (OTC) hearing devices.
- Supporting reintroduction of the Over-the-Counter Hearing Aid Act of 2016, a bill introduced in December 2016 by Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) that would allow hearing aids “intended to be used by adults to compensate for mild to moderate hearing impairment” to be sold over the counter.
HLAA says that it is committed to advocating for affordable and accessible hearing health care for everyone with hearing loss and that the organization “will not waiver”.
“We seek to support legislation that has a greater potential to impact more people and provide tangible and significant benefits.” —HLAA Statement