Children's vision legislation introduced in Congress

January 20, 2009

The Vision Care for Kids Act of 2009 was introduced with bipartisan support in the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives, according to prepared statements by The Vision Council and the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO), two supporters of the legislation.

Alexandria, VA, and Washington, DC

-The Vision Care for Kids Act of 2009 was introduced with bipartisan support in the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives, according to prepared statements by The Vision Council and the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO), two supporters of the legislation.

The bill (S. 259/H.R. 577) would provide children with follow-up care after they are identified as having a potential vision problem through a comprehensive eye examination or vision screening.

“Good vision is critical to our children’s ability to learn. All children must have the tools they need to succeed, and that begins with good vision, which ensures they can see a bright future,” said Sen. Christopher “Kit” Bond (R-MO), who is one of several senators and representatives sponsoring the bill.

Because the legislation contains identical language in the Senate and House of Representatives, it is expected to move quickly through the legislative process.

“This measure would be a major milestone in partnership with the states to address the vision needs of our nation’s uninsured children,” said Michael X. Repka, MD, the AAO’s secretary for federal affairs and professor of ophthalmology and pediatrics at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore. “The academy is pleased that this legislation has attracted bipartisan support, with all recognizing the importance of the measure.”

The bill, which would authorize the spending of $65 million over 5 years, would complement existing state efforts that have vision-screening programs in place for those with the lowest income by providing funding in the form of state grants for comprehensive eye examinations and treatment for uninsured children who fail a vision screening.

“We applaud our congressional leaders for their unwavering commitment to the Vision Care for Kids Act. Over the past few years they have worked tirelessly to ensure that all children receive the vision care they need,” said Rep. Gene Green (D-TX), a sponsor of the bill. “Their leadership has been instrumental in bringing this legislation to where it is today, and we look forward to working with each of them on passing the bill.”

The Vision Council encourages those in the vision community to contact their representatives to ask for their support for this legislation. To find the contact information for your local elected officials, and to learn more about the act, visit

www.2020advocacy.com

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