Posted October 02, 2018 09:02:04It’s been a tough couple of weeks for the eye care industry.
A series of bills were introduced in Congress in February that would have eliminated the federal minimum wage for the first time in history.
And the president signed a $1 trillion spending bill last month, giving him an unprecedented power to spend money.
“You can’t just roll over and do whatever you want,” said Dr. James L. Stang, the president of the American Academy of Ophthalmology and the lead author of the bill, which would have made eye care as expensive as a hospital.
“The industry has got to keep up the fight.
We can’t let this be the norm.”
Stang and his colleagues introduced the Eye Care Reform Act to try to restore what has been described as the “gold standard” of health care in America.
The bill would have allowed states to set their own minimum wage, increased the federal Medicare eligibility age for people with incomes under 133 percent of the poverty level, and provided incentives to expand the number of ophthalmic surgeries in rural areas.
“This bill was really a bipartisan effort that included Republicans, Democrats, and independents,” Stang said.
“There’s no single reason to do it, but there is a common interest.”
The bill failed to pass the Senate, and Trump signed it into law in late May.
Stag said the president is right to try something new.
“I think the president knows the importance of health in a very real way.
But this is not about money,” he said.
Stang said the bill has helped reduce the cost of ophthomas, but that it has also contributed to an increase in insurance premiums.
“That’s been an issue,” he noted.
“If you look at the prices that we’ve seen over the last year, we’ve had a real increase in premiums for ophthalmologists and their practices.”
Dr. Matthew A. Bittner, a professor of ocular surgery at the University of Southern California, said the bills may have been “a bit of a wakeup call” for the industry.
“It’s not like the industry was totally in shock.
The industry is used to these bills, and they have the financial resources to be able to respond,” he told Fox News.”
What is surprising is how quickly these bills have been pushed through, especially in the wake of the Affordable Care Act.
We’ve seen a number of other bills introduced in the House and Senate, but nothing like this one,” Bittmer said.
He said that the bill’s passage is a “good sign” that the health care industry is prepared to work with Congress.
“We have to do what’s best for patients, but also for patients’ doctors,” Bistner said.
“I think that the eye doctors are seeing that there is an opportunity here,” Stung said.
The legislation “really has to do with the patients.”
Bittmer also pointed out that eye care is a $2 trillion industry.
He said it is difficult to predict how the legislation will impact ophthalmia practice costs.
“What we know is that the industry is a very resilient business,” he explained.
“They’re not going to give up.”
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