AOA-Backed Medicaid, NHSC Improvement Bills Introduced; ODs Encouraged to Contact Elected Officials for Support

AOA doctor and student advocates helped secure record levels of support for optometry-specific legislation in the last Congress. Thanks to their efforts, the National Health Service Corps Improvement Act (HR 920) and the Optometric Equity in Medicaid Act (HR 855) have been introduced into the new 113th Congress with broad bipartisan support.

Sponsored by Reps. Cathy McMorris-Rodgers (R-Wash.) and Kathy Castor (D-Fla.), the AOA-backed National Health Service Corps Improvement Act (HR 920) aims to bring doctors of optometry into more underserved urban and rural communities by ending the misguided exclusion of optometrists from the NHSC student loan repayment and scholarship programs. 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.

Sponsored by Reps.  Ralph Hall (R-Texas) and Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.), the AOA-backed Optometric Equity in Medicaid Act (HR 855) seeks to avert a potential crisis in access to primary eye care for Medicaid patients by amending the federal Medicaid statute to fully recognize optometrists.

Reps. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.), Suzanne Bonamici (D-Wash.), David Cicilline (D-RI),  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-DC), Tim Ryan (D-Ohio), Lee Terry (R-Neb.), and Ed Whitfield (R-Ky.) have joined as original co-sponsors.

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