3 ways Obama has improved the lives of those who are deaf or hard of hearing
written by: Braby2014
This November will mark the sixth year in office of President Obama. And whilst his administration continues to divide opinion on all sides of the political spectrum, we thought it would be a good idea to examine the changes in law that pertain to those who are are deaf or hard of hearing. Here are three changes that have been brought about since President Obama took up office.
1. Obama signs technology access bill
In 2010, in the first term of his presidency, Obama signed into law a new bill that required smart phones, television programs, and other technologies to be accessible to those with vision or hearing loss. Known as the 21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act, the bill makes it easier for those who are deaf to enter the digital age and use the same features on their cell phones, computers, and tablets as those who don’t have disabilities. Paul Schroder, from the American Foundation of the Blind, said at the time that the law was “life-changing” for the millions of Americans who have a disability. The law gives all Americans equal access to emergency broadcast information, the digital menus on television and cable TV guides, web browsers, text messaging, and e-mails. The new law will also ensure that internet-enabled mobile phones are compatible for those who have hearing aids, and will provide $10 million each year in finding for deaf-blind individuals in the way of assistive technology.
The Obama administration picked a deaf female lawyer to become the associate director in the White House Office of Public Engagement in 2013. Claudia Gordon – who was previously working for the Department of Labor – will now oversee the White House’s efforts on disability issues, and holds the distinction of becoming the first deaf African American female attorney in the United States. Gordon was born in Jamaica and experienced discrimination for being deaf, which compelled her to become a lawyer so that she could help others. Her family moved to the United States when she was a child, where she attended Lexington School for the Deaf in New York and later became the first deaf student who graduated from Washington College of Law at American University. Gordon is also fluent in sign language.
3. Obamacare provides more support for those with hearing difficulties
The Affordable Care Act – or ACA – was signed into law in 2010 by the Obama administration. According to the HHS (Department of Health and Human Services), the objective of the legislation is to make sure that health insurance is available and affordable to individuals and small groups such as small businesses who are uninsured. The Hearing Loss Association of America have been working with state offices since the act was brought into law, as well as with state insurance commissioner and state legislatures, to ensure that insurance coverage for hearing adds is expanded in future ACA plans. Currently, 22 states include some coverage for types of hearing aids and related services, while hearing aids are state-required benefits in 18 different states. The Hearing Loss Association of America continues to advocate for the rights of those who have hearing loss or deafness.
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A blogger and content writer, the author of this article enjoys politics, listening to music, and watching television – including factual documentaries. He also enjoys spending time with family, cooking, and traveling.
Know more? Leave a comment and let us know what you think Obama has done to improve the lives of those who are deaf/hard of hearing!