House of Representatives passes Steve Gleason Act

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Former Saints safety Steve Gleason has been living with ALS since 2011 and his life has been made fuller by the availability of technology that helps him communicate despite the disease taking away his ability to speak.

When changes were made to Medicare last year, those devices were no longer covered and Gleason began work to rally support in Congress to make sure that speech generating devices would be available to all who need them. That led to the Steve Gleason Act, which the House of Representatives passed on Wednesday. The bill had already passed in the Senate and now moves to President Obama, who can sign it into law.

Gleason, who called the Medicare changes a “human rights violation” in a Washington Post op-ed, thanked legislators and other activists for their work in getting the bill passed.

“We saw it happen far too many times. People who wished to live productively denied access to the one tool that could liberate them,” Gleason said in a statement. “People in hospice, who had their SGDs seized, so their last words to their loved ones were mere silence. Thankfully, legislative leaders like Senator David Vitter, Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers, Congressman Erik Paulsen, Congressman Steve Scalise and many others, saw this tragedy and they intervened. These leaders stepped up on behalf of those who couldn’t take action themselves.

“At the time, the Steve Gleason Act seemed like a long shot. It was given only a 2% chance of passing, but the ALS community never waved the white flag. That was not an option. With help from this extraordinary ALS community of patients and caregivers, as well as advocates like The Center for Medicare Advocacy, we made some noise. A lot of noise. People, like myself, who are literally voiceless, were heard. Loud and clear. This legislation may have my name on it, but please know it is the ALS community and the diligent legislators who deserve our applause.”

Gleason was a hero in New Orleans because of his blocked punt in the team’s first game back at the Superdome after Hurricane Katrina ravaged the city in 2005. His work on behalf of those suffering from ALS and other neuromuscular conditions has made him a deserving one well outside the city’s boundaries.

43 responses to “House of Representatives passes Steve Gleason Act

  1. This is awesome…

    …until Obama signs it into law, of course. Then it’ll be on the Republican’s endless list of decisions which destroyed the country.

  2. Glad to see this happen. Steve is an example we should all look up to and a hero. It’s a shame that he is suffering from ALS but he has done so much for charity and advocacy for other ALS victims. He has definitely left a mark in this world.

  3. …fighting the good fight Steve! The man has a infinite amount of time on the planet and he has the courage and energy to win a noble fight against a gov agency that’s suppose to look after US citizens. Medicare should be ashamed for even making this a issue.

  4. Man, I was in the Superdome that Monday night when he blocked the punt that was recovered for a TD. I thought the roof was going to be ripped off the Superdome again – but this time from the inside out because of the pure joy and excitement of the crowd. Never heard anything that loud before or since. Still get goosebumps. Thanks, Mr. Gleason.

  5. This is why we need universal healthcare in the United States. Nobody should go without medical care even if they can’t afford it. I know it’s tough to swallow, and believe me, I hate the fact that our debt is going to continue to rise in this country, but there are certain things that are necessary evils. I wish Republicans could set aside their feelings for government and understand that everybody deserves health care. Let’s work to reduce the national debt in other ways that don’t affect the lives of our fellow Americans.

  6. No offense to Steve Gleason, but shouldn’t it be the Lou Gehrig Act?

    I mean, Lou Gehrig was a little more accomplished in his career. The disease is named after him, after all.

  7. As someone living with MS who hopefully never needs a communication assistance device I applaud Mr.Gleason and his efforts. A true hero. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

  8. Steve Gleason has ALS because our government allows the importing of rice which has cycad seeds seeds as filler and without cycasin toxin you cannot get ALS. Plain rice will absorb the cycasin toxin from the human body.

  9. An outrageous waste of tax dollars. You liberals know no bounds.
    —————
    And as a republican I’m sure you’d much rather see that tax money go towards national defense, right? It always blows my mind to see people complain about healthcare costs and liberal spending when the republicans want to take that same money and apply it to the military! If you add up the military budgets of the top 10 spending countries besides us, our budget is larger than all of them…..combined!! Who are we fighting where we need to invest so much in defense spending. The Iraq war cost 10 billion a month and over a trillion in total….but everyone’s fixated on Obamacare. Why is it better to spend money to kill people than to help them?

  10. Vikesrule, I couldn’t agree more. Healthcare for profit is ridiculous. It should be a service like firemen or police. How are we the only civilized country that doesn’t have a national system? Over the last decade or two our healthcare system has become THE most expensive in the world. However, it’s only ranked 32nd in terms of quality. Why do so many people want to keep it status quo??? The times, they are a changing, I hope.

  11. kd75 says:
    Jul 16, 2015 12:39 PM

    No offense to Steve Gleason, but shouldn’t it be the Lou Gehrig Act?

    I mean, Lou Gehrig was a little more accomplished in his career. The disease is named after him, after all.

    ———

    did you read the article? does someone really need to explain it?

  12. Thanks OBummer. Just another weak-bodied liberal who needs the govarnment to figure out there life. You don’t see me needing a speech-machine. I’m just fine and no one is givign me a handout

  13. And as a republican I’m sure you’d much rather see that tax money go towards national defense, right?
    ___________________________

    Of course it should go to national defense. This country needs to get its priorities straight!

  14. Good, now maybe they can pass the spending bills to keep the highways funded. Probably too much to ask since Republicans want the traitorous confederate flag attached to everything.

  15. patswin says:
    Jul 16, 2015 12:36 PM
    An outrageous waste of tax dollars. You liberals know no bounds.
    _______________________________________

    Right, because HUMAN DIGNITY and the ability to communicate with other people, especially in your final days or hours, is too much to ask for!

    And keep telling yourself that the Republican Party is there to “keep freeloaders to spend your hard earned tax dollars”, while their real agenda isn’t to help the working man but to keep the rich and corporations from paying their fair share.

  16. pkrlvr says:
    Jul 16, 2015 1:15 PM

    And as a republican I’m sure you’d much rather see that tax money go towards national defense, right?

    ——

    or tax cuts for the wealthy……after all, they create the jobs (for people in other countries)

  17. An outrageous waste of tax dollars. You liberals know no bounds.”

    Steve Scalise, Cathy McMorris Rodgers and David Vitter are so liberal that they are Republican huh? You learn something new everyday on PFT I guess.

    This legislation was in response to cuts made within the Affordable Care Act that left folks such as Mr Gleason, stuck out on a limb.
    I have no problem with folks like him having a better quality of life as a result of this, I dont know why you do.

  18. Seems we need a civics course on here with all the hating on the republicans.

    The bill passed the Senate, which is controlled by the Republicans.

    The bill passed the House of Representatives, which is controlled by the Republicans.

    The Bill was necessary because of a change in the Medicare laws. The head of Medicare and Medicaid is a Federal Employee chosen by the President. The President is a Democrat.

    Ahh, those pesky facts. I bet this remains on this site for about five minutes, because we all know which way Florio and the boys at NBC lean…

  19. @cajunaise

    Except for the fact that Gleason thanked a Republican for his help in passing this measure. Don’t let facts get in the way of your stereotypes. Have a great day buddy…

  20. This story has little to do with political affiliation. How about we keep it that way and appreciate what this man is doing. Most everyone has someone in their family afflicted with something they had no control over.
    The clown who posted this … ” Just another weak-bodied liberal who needs the govarnment to figure out there life. You don’t see me needing a speech-machine. I’m just fine and no one is givign me a handout” …. makes me sick and I’m a conservative! Kharma has a way of catching up to people like you.

  21. patswin says:
    Jul 16, 2015 12:36 PM
    An outrageous waste of tax dollars. You liberals know no bounds.
    _________________________________________

    You sir are an embarrassment to the republican party. It’s morons like you that give the rest of us a bad name.

  22. madmaxx87 says:
    Jul 16, 2015 1:39 PM

    Seems we need a civics course on here with all the hating on the republicans.

    The bill passed the Senate, which is controlled by the Republicans.

    The bill passed the House of Representatives, which is controlled by the Republicans.

    The Bill was necessary because of a change in the Medicare laws. The head of Medicare and Medicaid is a Federal Employee chosen by the President. The President is a Democrat.

    Ahh, those pesky facts. I bet this remains on this site for about five minutes, because we all know which way Florio and the boys at NBC lean…

    ————-

    when republicans work to provide fair and equal health care to everyone (whether it’s tweaking ACA to make it better, or something else), then I’ll start looking at them in a different light. I applaud that republicans voted for the Gleason Act…..but let’s be real here, it is a relatively narrow provision in the overall world of health care. Just last month, republicans were trying to pay for the trade bill in part with cuts to medicare.

  23. Banning the devices for no reason would be a violation. Not handing them out to everyone is not a human rights violation. Expecting the government to do everything for you is precisely why you now need an act of Congress to get anything done. And universal healthcare just results in worse healthcare at some grimy local clinic unless, again, you have the political clout to make the political class care about you personally. Go visit the dozens of countries with “free healthcare” and you will see lines of people waiting for horse pills and gauze.

  24. stillers213 says:
    Jul 16, 2015 2:16 PM

    This story has little to do with political affiliation. How about we keep it that way and appreciate what this man is doing. Most everyone has someone in their family afflicted with something they had no control over.

    —-

    Just noticed your post…..I’m certainly willing to try.

  25. And madmax, where did the affordable care act come from in the first place?

    Hint: not the republicans.
    ———-
    Well yes and no. Obama originally wanted a single payer system and the republicans fought him tooth and nail. This bastardised AHA is what we got instead of a single payer system. We have what we have because A. Our president was more worried about a political victory than he was about getting the right bill passed, and B. The GOP would not get behind anything so radical as a single payer system. Its a failure on both sides, and I do blame both for not having socialised medicine, but more so the GOP as it goes against the very core of their beliefs (small govt). But small government really only benefits corporations and the super rich. Wish more people would realise that. Regulations are good, they protect us. So is the epa, social security, etc.

  26. Of course it should go to national defense. This country needs to get its priorities straight!
    ———-
    Now I just think you are messing around. No one is this dumb for real. Our priorities should be taking care of our citizens. All of them. Even the ones we’d like to ignore. Military spending is part of that, but the fact that it takes such a huge piece of our budget is ridiculous. We still have 50,000 troops in Germany for chrissake. Have had since the 40’s. Why??? Is Hitler coming back. At some point you have to look at the military for what it is. A jobs program. We could cut the spending in half and still have the worlds largest military.

    7 20
    Report

  27. No problem with helping people that need it but when Obama and the Democrats pass a highly partisan bill based on a lie (If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor. like your plan, you can keep your plan) that’s what I have an issue with. Let’s not forget the hundreds of waivers to Obama’s cronies so they don’t fall under the bill.And the “Affordable” care act doesn’t even cover everyone. It will also cost the country over 2 million jobs according to the CBA. Dems must have pics of John Roberts doing some pretty bad things to uphold this turd legislation.

  28. Steve Gleason’s unselfish courage and the efforts of his and other nonprofits got this done. Vitter and Scalise supported this worthy cause so they could bask in Steve’s reflected popularity. Had any other constituent been involved, Vitter and Scalise wouldn’t have given a damn.

  29. And madmax, where did the affordable care act come from in the first place?

    Hint: not the republicans.
    =============
    And where do most bloated government bureaucracies that always cost much more than the politicians promised and never really fix anything come from?

    Hint: Not the Republicans

    By the way, my post has nothing to do with the Steve Gleason act, it is only in response to the Republican basing from the poster above.

  30. “And universal healthcare just results in worse healthcare at some grimy local clinic”

    That is a flat out lie. Medicare itself is single payer health insurance. I’m served very well by it. There’s no reason we can’t have it for everyone.

  31. stillers213 says:
    Jul 16, 2015 2:16 PM

    This story has little to do with political affiliation. How about we keep it that way and appreciate what this man is doing.
    ======
    Bravo! Now if we could all act with this in mind, I think we as a country could get better quickly.

    gobolts says:
    Jul 16, 2015 6:26 PM
    And where do most bloated government bureaucracies that always cost much more than the politicians promised and never really fix anything come from?

    Hint: Not the Republicans
    ===========
    If you want to see when and under whom the bloated gov’t bureaucracies are created under, look at the populations and housing markets of Northern VA and Southern MD timelines. Most recently, the populations of these areas exploded with the Dept of Homeland Security.

  32. I love it when people laid the health care in Canada as being better than ours because when Canadians need life-saving healthcare (especially their politicians who claim to love socialized healthcare) they run to the United States for treatment. You people that think “free” healthcare is so wonderful have no idea. 4+ years ago I took a cancer drug that saved my life and now I live a normal life. It cost $2,900 a month and between my health insurance ad the drug company subsidy, it cost me $100. EVERY country in the world with socialized medicine DOES NOT cover the drug. I’d be dead if I depended on those governments to give me “free” healthcare. Spare me. Without the profit motive, many drugs would have never been developed and many of us here would be dead now.

  33. @weepingjebus:

    Public healthcare leads to worse healthcare? If that is the case, why is healthcare in the US the most expensive in the world, but ranked a pathetic #32 in quality? How is it that 31 of these other countries can provide better service when it is universal?

    I know, I know, stupid reality. Who needs it?

  34. This shouldn’t be a discussion about politics but a celebration that those who are the most vulnerable can now get the help they need!
    Lou Gehrig does have the disease named after him but no one has done more for the victims of ALS than Gleason in history and it’s not even close.

  35. Your political parties both suck and their posturing and combative nonsense has led to the ruin of this country.

    So shut up, all of you.

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