Alexandria, VA (September, 2014) – Prior to the events of Vision Expo West, The Vision Council held its annual Government and Regulatory Affairs Capitol Hill Fly-In, joined by representatives from various member companies. This full day of meetings with representatives and their offices, led by The Vision Council’s Chair of the Government and Regulatory Affairs Committee Frederic Grethel, highlighted The Vision Council’ ongoing efforts to bridge relationships between member companies and their elected officials.
Top priorities discussed at these meetings included the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) pediatric vision benefit, the rising cost of vision and health care, and the ongoing efforts to revitalize the Veterans Administration Health System, specifically related to vision care.
“As an investment in the future, it is important that we ensure that children will continue to benefit from the pediatric vision benefit as part of the Essential Health Benefits program within the ACA. Making sure that children’s vision difficulties are identified and treated early will favorably impact both academic performance as well as behavior, and has been an issue that we feel needs to be identified on Capitol Hill,” said Ed Greene, CEO of The Vision Council. “We would also like to applaud the efforts made to revitalize the Veterans Administration Health System, and as part of that effort that VA be fully funded to provide both vision rehabilitation therapy and adaptive medical devices – Low Vision Aids – to help veterans maximize their visual potential, independence and personal potential.”
The Vision Council also discussed a suggested raise to the Flexible Spending Account (FSA) ceiling of $2,500 to better reflect the costs of uncovered health services, co-pays, and OTC health-related purchases that families experience. While a specific dollar amount was not recommended, it was proposed that the FSA be pegged at least in part to family size, especially when tax reform is revisited.
The Vision Council’s Government Affairs Committee members represent companies from several divisions such as Wal-Mart, Essilor, California Accessories, ClearVision Optical, Charmant USA, National Vision, Ocutech, and Expert Optical, Inc. Meetings were held with multiple elected officials and their offices, including:
- Congressman Tim Bishop *(D-NY)
- Senator Cory Booker *(D-NJ)
- Senator John Boozman *(R-AR)
- Senator Barbara Boxer *(D-CA)
- Congresswoman Lois Capps *(D-CA)
- Senator Saxby Chambliss *(R-GA)
- Senator John Cornyn *(R-TX)
- Senator Ted Cruz *(R-TX)
- Congressman Rodney Frelinghuysen *(R-NJ)
- Senator Kirsten Gillibrand *(D-NY)
- Senator Mark Kirk *(R-IL)
- Senator Amy Klobuchar *(D-MN)
- Congresswoman Doris Matsui *(D-CA)
- Congressman Scott Peters, *(D-CA)
- Congressman David Price *(D-NC)
- Senator Mark Pryor *(D-AR)
- Senator Chuck Schumer *(D-NY)
- Congressman Eric Swalwell *(D-CA
- Congressman Steve Womack *(R-AR)
- Congressman Rob Woodall *(R-GA)
Both nationally on Capitol Hill, within the federal agencies, and back home in the local districts and states, The Vision Council strives to educate, cultivate and strengthen key relationships with elected officials and decision-makers that have oversight of the optical industry. It remains imperative and an important goal for The Vision Council to serve as the go-to expert and resource for all policymakers interested in the eyewear
frame and lens community.
Serving as the global voice for vision care products and services, The Vision Council represents the manufacturers and suppliers of the optical industry through education, advocacy and consumer outreach. By sharing the latest in eyewear trends, advances in technology and advice from eyewear experts, The Vision Council serves as a resource to the public looking to learn more about options in eyeglasses and sunglasses.