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Federal Advocacy
Optometry Wins Key Health Plan Battle in Washington

AOA Supports the Collins-Murkowski Amendment to S. 1955



S. 1955, the Health Insurance Marketplace Modernization Act, continues to advance on Capitol Hill and is now being considered on the U.S. Senate floor. The bill, which seeks to expand ERISA and other Federal laws in order to establish national standards for regulating and administering health insurance, would create new health care plans aimed at attracting employees of small businesses.

In its current form, S. 1955 would create small business health plans that are exempt from state laws and fully authorized to discriminate against Doctors of Optometry as providers. Without the specific changes being urged by AOA, S. 1955 would severely restrict patient access to medical eye care services.

To correct this significant flaw in the bill, the AOA is strongly supports a health care provider non-discrimination amendment to S. 1955, soon to be offered on the Senate floor by Senator Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska).

The AOA-backed Collins-Murkowski Amendment to S. 1955 is designed to:

  • Safeguard state health care provider freedom of choice and non-discrimination laws ensuring patient access to optometrists.
  • Prohibit discrimination by plans with respect to provider participation and re-imbursement.
  • Ensure that medical eye care services now performed by optometrists, including diagnosis and treatment of glaucoma, diagnosis and treatment of infectious ocular diseases, diagnosis of retinal eye disorders, treatment of ocular trauma and removal of foreign bodies from the eye, will be available to patients who would obtain health insurance coverage under the small business health plans envisioned by S. 1955.

With S. 1955 now being considered on the Senate floor, a vote on the AOA-backed Collins-Murkowski amendment is imminent. Please immediately contact the Washington, DC offices of your state’s two U.S. Senators by calling the U.S. Capitol switchboard – 202 224-3121 – and urge them to support the AOA-backed Collins-Murkowski amendment to S. 1955.

IMMEDIATE ACTION NEEDED

  1. Call the U.S Capitol switchboard at 202 224-3121
  2. Ask to be connected to the office of one of your state’s two U.S. Senators
  3. Urge support for the AOA-backed Collins-Murkowski health provider non-discrimination amendment to S. 1955. Provide all necessary information concerning the patient freedom of choice and provider non-discrimination laws in your state.
  4. Repeat for your state’s other U.S. Senator.

If you have any questions or would like additional information feel free to contact Jon Hymes (JFHymes@aoa.org) or Adrianne Drollette (ADrollette@aoa.org) in the AOA’s Washington Office.