This week was the first legislative “funnel” which means policy bills need to be voted out of at least one committee to remain eligible. An example of such a bill was one that I introduced, HF 2178, which will require insurance companies to cover pediatric hearing aids.
We had the privilege of watching someone advocate for this issue, as it is very near and dear to their hearts. The main advocate was a 10-year-old who passionately engaged legislators at the capitol with his story.
Much of the work that went into this effort took place long before this week. Lucas Johnston and his parents Sarah and Andy have been active in an organization that is looking for assistance in providing affordable pediatric hearing aids to those who need them. Before session began, they contacted me with the goal of bringing this specific issue to my attention.
They asked me to introduce a bill that would provide the assistance they need. I quickly began to understand the severity of the dilemma that they and many other families were faced with. Currently as the problem stands, assistance is not uniform between competing insurance providers. We hope that this legislation will work to provide consistency within this issue between public and private insurance providers.
The subcommittee took place at 9:30 a.m. Wednesday. Present was Lucas and his family who were there to tell their story to legislators, lobbyists and all other interested parties. Lucas had a prepared speech that he gave to legislators to emphasize the impact that bill would have on his own family.
During the subcommittee Lucas and his parents touched the hearts of everyone in attendance. Throughout the day, the Johnston family continued to meet with legislators that in the future will have the power to move this legislation along.
Iowa Rep. Norlin Mommsen is a state representative in the Iowa House of Representatives. His district covers Clinton County.