Late yesterday, Democrats in the House of Representatives unveiled long-awaited heathcare reform legislation that combines the efforts of the House Education and Labor, Energy and Commerce, and Ways and Means Committees. The bill includes a provision that would require "oral, health, vision, and hearing services, equipment, and supplies at least for children under 21 years of age" to be included in an Essential Benefits Package.
If enacted as part of overall healthcare reform legislation, hearing health services and equipment for children would be considered an "essential benefit" by the federal government. Under the legislation, specifics related to the form of benefit would be determined by a newly created Health Benefits Advisory Committee that would report to the Secretary of Health and Human Services.
The Senate is also in the process of drafting healthcare reform legislation and is working to unveil a bill in the near future. Depending on developments over the next several weeks, HIA may be asking you to visit your elected officials at home during the August recess, so stay tuned!