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Optometrists Back Federal Bill Targeting Vision Plans

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It’s called the DOC Access Act.

A new federal bill seeks to “put patients and doctors – rather than health and vision plan executives — back in control of important health care decisions,” according to the American Optometric Association.

The AOA, the Georgia Optometric Association and the American Dental Association are backing the measure, which was introduced March 17 in the House.

Among other protections, the bill would prohibit federally regulated health, vision, and dental plans from:

  • Restrictions on medical plan participation.
  • Limits on a doctor’s choice of lab.
  • Non-covered services and materials mandates.

The bill is being pused by U.S. Reps. Buddy Carter (R-GA) and Dave Loebsack (D-IA). Co-sponsors include Reps. Bennie Thompson (D-MS), Markwayne Mullin (R-OK), Robert Pittenger (R-NC), and Paul Gosar, DDS (R-AZ).

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“Millions of Americans rely on local doctors of optometry for their comprehensive eye and vision health care needs and it is time to put a stop to the barriers vision plans place on the doctor-patient relationship and access to quality care,” said AOA President Dr. Andrea P. Thau. “The AOA is proud to support the DOC Access Act and commends Reps. Carter and Loebsack for taking this step to ensure that doctors and patients are again at the center of important, personal health care decisions.”

According to AOA: “While 40 states have enacted legislation addressing these exploitations for plans regulated at the state level, a federal effort is now needed to address plans which have been sidestepping these state laws.”

The bill, called the Dental and Optometric Care Access Act or DOC Access Act, has been designated as H.R. 1606.

Read more at AOA

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