AOA commends President Obama's attention to children's vision

February 9, 2009

The American Optometric Association (AOA) commended President Barack Obama for singling out the importance of eye and vision care when he signed the expansion of the State Children's Health Insurance Program.

Washington, DC-The American Optometric Association (AOA) commended President Barack Obama for singling out the importance of eye and vision care when he signed the expansion of the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP).

"No child should be falling behind at school because he can't hear the teacher or see the blackboard. I refuse to accept that millions of our children fail to reach their full potential because we fail to meet their basic needs," said President Obama as he signed the bill into law during a White House ceremony on Wednesday.

Approval by Congress on Jan. 29 reauthorizes SCHIP for another 4 years and will expand eligibility and funding to cover approximately 11 million children nationwide providing an additional $32.8 billion. Currently, health coverage is provided by SCHIP-including eye and vision-care benefits set by the states-to about 7 million children of disadvantaged and low-income families.

"Optometry commends President Obama for recognizing from the start of his term the essential link between healthy vision and learning," said Peter H. Kehoe, OD, president of the AOA. "The AOA has worked to make children's vision a top health-care priority in Washington, DC. The President's statement on Wednesday, the significant expansion of SCHIP, and the recent reintroduction in Congress of the AOA-backed Vision Care for Kids Act demonstrates that progress has been made but there's still more work to be done."

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