Rep. Schrier’s Bill to Expand Medicare to Get House Vote Next Week
WASHINGTON, DC – Congresswoman Kim Schrier, M.D. (WA-08) today announced that her bill the Medicare Vision Act of 2019 (HR 4665), will be voted on next week by the House of Representatives. The Medicare Vision Act will expand Medicare Part B coverage to cover eye exams and glasses.
“I am excited that my bill was included in The Lower Drug Costs Now Act that will be voted on next week. Expanding Medicare to cover vision is important because as seniors age, vision can deteriorate, and eye diseases can emerge. We want to make sure seniors can live independently for as long as possible. Part of this is making sure that they can see well enough to drive to appointments, walk safely around the house, and carefully read prescriptions,” said Rep. Schrier.
The Medicare Vision Act of 2019 will expand Medicare Part B coverage to include routine eye exams, procedures, and contact lens fitting services. It will also provide coverage for one pair of eyeglasses or a two-year supply of contact lenses. Right now, Medicare Part B covers cataract surgery and yearly glaucoma screenings for people who are at a high risk but does not cover routine eye exams. Only 57% of Medicare beneficiaries with vision problems said they have received an eye exam during the previous year.
Schrier continued, “As a doctor, I am concerned about the number of older Americans who haven’t had an eye exam in over a year and might have undiagnosed eye conditions, like macular degeneration or glaucoma. Also, poor vision can limit physical activity and increase isolation. Those, in turn, can lead to deteriorating health. By expanding Medicare Part B to cover vision care, we will ensure that older Americans will be able to access this care at a cost that isn’t prohibitive.”