Congressman Buddy Carter responds to attack ad on hearing aid devices

(WSAV) — 1st District Congressman Buddy Carter from Pooler says he may be learning a lesson in Washington, D.C. about ‘special interest groups.”

This issue at hand is an attack ad on hearing aid devices made by Virginia’s conservative based Frontiers of Freedom.

“I was very surprised and also very disappointed by the ad,” said Carter, who would normally expect a positive rating from a group like this.

“But how ludicrous is it to think that you’d be criticized for trying to make healthcare and medical devices more accessible and more affordable,” said Cater. “80 percent of the people who are in need of hearing aids right now go without them.and a big reason for that is because they’re not affordable.”

Carter says insurance pays a minimal cost for a hearing aid or doesn’t pay at all. AARP, which supports the legislation, says that only about 20 percent of the estimated 30 million Americans who have hearing loss buy a hearing device.

Carter makes it clear that the bill would serve those with “mild” hearing loss by allowing them to purchase hearing devices over the counter.

While critics of the proposed legislation say there are devices that amplify sound available now at drugstores, bill supporters say the legislation and competition would likely prompt better-made devices at much less cost in comparison to a hearing aid.

The advertisement says Carter has aligned himself with liberal Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren.

“I don’t know why they want to tie me in with Elizabeth Warren, I’ve never even had a conversation with her about this,” said Carter.

Carter does not know why a conservative group made this ad, he believes he knows something about the “money” behind it. “I mean here you’ve got six companies that account for 98 percent of the market share of all hearing aids worldwide and you know they’re the ones who are behind this,” he told me. “It leads you to believe that what we hear about special interests running Washington, D.C. is true.”

“I mean here you’ve got six companies that account for 98 percent of the market share of all hearing aids worldwide and you know they’re the ones who are behind this,” he told News 3. “It leads you to believe that what we hear about special interests running Washington, D.C. is true.”

Whatever someone claims, the congressman says that this is a bi-partisan effort and that the bill just passed out of the House and Energy Commerce Committee.

“It passed out of our committee unanimously,” he said. “All 54 members voted in favor of it, democrat and republican.”

News 3 was not told if Carter’s support for the bill comes from his profession as a pharmacist.  He did say he believes this will ultimately make all kinds of hearing devices more available and affordable.

“I’m not going to succumb to their pressure, I will continue to support this bill,” he said.

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