Congressional Advocacy Conference Update

By: Antonio Chirumbolo SUNY Optometry 2013
After the joint efforts of Optometrists and Optometry students all over the United States, the 2011 AOA Congressional Advocacy Conference was a huge success.

Adam B. Weiss, Assistant Director of Political Affairs of the American Optometric Association had these encouraging words of advice for us students:

“The Congressional Advocacy Conference has produced some immediate and measurable results. The co-sponsor lists for optometry specific bills, HR 1219 and HR 1195, have grown significantly. Congress has voted to repeal the burdensome 1099 reporting requirement, an action ODs and students urged many Republican senators to take when the measure stalled in early April. Also, at the request of ODs and students from their home states, Democratic Senators Daniel Inouye (HI), Mary Landrieu (LA) and Bob Menendez (NJ) have sent letters to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to urge that comprehensive eye exams be made a foundation of the new health care law’s children’s vision essential health benefit. “

As Mr. Weiss pointed out, we students and professionals must not rest with the results we have obtained so far, but must continue to lobby and fight to achieve success collectively as a profession. It is pivotal for students to become involved early with the legislation and legislative battles that engulf Optometry as a profession. With hard work and determination, we can push Optometry to new heights, building upon the foundation and progress this profession has benefited from in the past and present.

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