This was 20+ years ago... he communicated using a chin-driven switch hooked up to a computer. I'm guessing he could do maybe 12-15 words per minute with the predictive software available at the time. HOWEVER getting the mechanical switch set up just right so he could use it was often a time-consuming chore, since he didn't have very much range of motion (or strength, for that matter) in his jaw.
This sort of thing would be a Godsend to people like him, where their minds continue to work but their bodies don't.
Of course, the elephant in the room is whether it makes sense to spend so many healthcare dollars on someone with an incurable, fatal disease. People with ALS get to the point where they need round-the-clock nursing care, a ventilator to help them breathe and an NG tube to feed them. on the other hand, no one blinks an eye at the annual drug costs for, say, AIDS patients; while the costs for ALS care are largely related to salaries of their caregivers.