STAND. COM. REP. NO. 3478
RE: H.B. No. 1633
Honorable Ronald D. Kouchi
President of the Senate
Thirtieth State Legislature
Regular Session of 2020
State of Hawaii
Your Committee on Commerce, Consumer Protection, and Health, to which was referred H.B. No. 1633, H.D. 1, entitled:
"A BILL FOR AN ACT RELATING TO AUDITORY DEVICES,"
begs leave to report as follows:
The purpose and intent of this measure is to lower the high cost of purchasing auditory devices, including hearing aids, by:
(1) Amending the definition of "prosthetic device" to include hearing aids and devices worn on the body;
(2) Exempting gross receipts from the sale of auditory devices, such as hearing aids, from the general excise tax; and
(3) Exempting gross receipts from the repair of and replacement parts for prosthetic devices from the general excise tax.
Your Committee received testimony in support of this measure from the Disability and Communication Access Board. Your Committee received comments on this measure from the Department of Taxation and Tax Foundation of Hawaii.
Your Committee finds that most auditory devices, including hearing aids, are expensive and purchasing hearing aids may be a financial hardship for families with a deaf or hard-of-hearing child because of the need for frequent replacement. The cost of hearing aids is not covered by Medicare, and not all insurance policies provide hearing aid benefits. This measure would reduce the cost burden associated with purchasing auditory devices, such as hearing aids, as increasing affordability of auditory devices for individuals with a hearing loss is an important step toward addressing the increased risk for other cognitive issues.
Your Committee notes the testimony of the Department of Taxation expressing concerns to extend the effective date of this measure to January 1, 2021, to allow sufficient time to make the necessary form and computer system changes.
As affirmed by the record of votes of the members of your Committee on Commerce, Consumer Protection, and Health that is attached to this report, your Committee is in accord with the intent and purpose of H.B. No. 1633, H.D. 1, and recommends that it pass Second Reading and be referred to your Committee on Ways and Means.
Respectfully submitted on behalf of the members of the Committee on Commerce, Consumer Protection, and Health,
ROSALYN H. BAKER, Chair