2 bills to watch—and support

AOA doctor and student advocates have been busy. In the last Congress, they helped secure record levels of support for optometry-specific legislation.

Thanks to their efforts, two crucial pieces of legislation were introduced into the 113th Congress with broad bipartisan support.

1. National Health Service Corps Improvement Act (H.R. 920)

This AOA-backed legislation aims to bring doctors of optometry into more underserved urban and rural communities by ending the exclusion of optometrists from the National Health Service Corps student loan repayment and scholarship programs.

H.R. 920 is sponsored by Reps. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.) and Kathy Castor (D-Fla.). Reps. Bruce Braley (D-Iowa), Bill Cassidy (R-La.), Raul Grijalva (D-Ariz.), Brett Guthrie (R-Ky.), Jerry McNerney (D-Calif.) and Peter Welch (D-Vt.) have joined as original co-sponsors.

2. The Optometric Equity in Medicaid Act (H.R. 855)

This legislation, also backed by AOA, seeks to avert a potential crisis in access to primary eye care for Medicaid patients. It does this by amending the federal Medicaid statute to fully recognize optometrists.

HR 855 is sponsored by Reps. Ralph Hall (R-Texas) and Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.). Reps. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.), Suzanne Bonamici (D-Ore.), David Cicilline (D-R.I.), Lloyd Doggett (D-Texas), Keith Ellison (D-Minn.), William Keating (D-Mass.), Dave Loebsack (D-Iowa), Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.), Jerry McNerney (D-Calif.), Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.), Tim Ryan (D-Ohio), Lee Terry (R-Neb.) and Ed Whitfield (R-Ky.) have joined as original co-sponsors.

Optometrists are encouraged to visit the Legislative Action Center at http://bit.ly/R9mE6N and support these important pieces of legislation.

June 24, 2013

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