Sen. Bill Cassidy Introduces Bill Limiting Consumer Eye-care Choices

Sen. Bill Cassidy's new bill will restrict choices of consumers in buying contact lenses Sen. Bill Cassidy’s new bill will restrict choices of consumers in buying contact lenses[/caption] All too often we’ve seen Washington D.C. politicians write statist legislation to tell us how to live our lives because they think they know better than we do. Such is the case with the first-term Republican Senator from Louisiana, who was a medical doctor before starting his political career, Bill Cassidy. Senator Cassidy introduced a bill last night, on behest of eye doctors, that will limit consumer choices and availability of contact lenses. The bill will allow an eye doctor to declare a prescription invalid or inaccurate and purchase and shipping of contact lenses by the patient will be stopped. Supporters of the bill claim it will address issues regarding prescription verification and alleged deceptive sales tactics by internet-based sellers of contact lenses. The bill will place a number of restrictions on how prescriptions are communicated from the doctors to contact lens sellers, all of which will only place further limits on customer choices. One of the restrictions requires that contact lens sellers furnish eye doctors with a “working toll-free number” and an e-mail address for communication. In reality, the problem is usually one of prescribing eye doctors not getting back to the sellers regarding prescriptions. Another restriction in the bill prohibits some types of calls to eye doctors to verify prescriptions, which puts the power in the hands of the doctor to mandate how a seller will communicate with the prescriber. The bill also empower the Federal Trade Commission to harass companies that sell contact lens products. All of these restrictions will only cause limits in consumer choices for contact lens purchases. Once again, we have a senator seeking to enact legislation that solves a non-existent problem. Consumers having a wide variety of options in purchasing their contact lenses, after having their eyes examined by a doctor, is only a “problem” for those wanting patients to have fewer options. Cassidy’s bill was filed last night, and it titled, “S.2777 – A bill to modernize the prescription verification process for contact lenses, to clarify consumer protections regarding false advertising of contact lenses, and for other purposes.” Consumers have broad rights to shop for and purchase their own contact lenses with a prescription under the Fairness to Contact Lens Consumers Act (FCLCA), which also places responsibilities on lens prescribers and sellers similar to the rights and responsibilities regarding eyeglasses. FCLCA is also designed to promote retail competition and afford more choices for consumers in contact lenses. This legislation is yet another instance of big government politicians, with the support of a particular interest (eye doctors in this instance) who believe they know better than us how to run our lives, and they seek to restrict our choices in order to protect us from exercising our choices as consumers. The federal government in general, and U.S. Senators in particular, have far more important problems to address than to be concerned about whether consumers are making the best choices in where and who to buy contact lenses from online or otherwise. Politicians in Washington should be working for the interests of the voters that sent them there rather than their friends in the special interest groups.]]>

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