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senate Bill S. 898

Should Optometrists Be Part of the National Health Service?

Argument in favor

This bill would encourage optometrists and other eye care professionals to join the National Health Service Corps. It would provide more access to optometrists for people in need. Having eyes that work well is as important a part of being healthy as having any other part of one’s body work well.

Mrs. r.'s Opinion
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11/03/2015
While you're at it, dental care should be covered as well; so many other health related issues are directly or indirectly attributable to a lack of dental care.
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AndrewGVN's Opinion
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10/26/2015
Eye health is essential and should be provided to low income families.
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Russell's Opinion
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05/03/2016
I am in my first year of optometry school and am looking into how I can serve, payback student debt, and provide for my future family. Dentist, nurses, PA, and most healthcare positions are included in the NHSC program but not
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Argument opposed

The National Health Service Corps does great work, certainly. But in areas where individuals might be struggling to meet their basic nutritional needs, where they might be exposed to toxic chemicals, their eye prescription is simply less of a priority. How many professions does the NHSC truly need?

Mark's Opinion
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05/29/2016
This program should not exist, health care is a luxury not a right. If you can't afford it then you are not meant to get it. If you can't afford it because you make stupid financial decisions like $100 sneakers for all your kids then you don't deserve any assistance, especially from taxpayers. If you can't afford it because you can't be bothered to work or work enough hours then you don't deserve any assistance, especially from taxpayers. Drop the freeloading socialist programs.
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Curmudgeon's Opinion
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08/04/2015
The fact we have three agencies listed which would become involved shows we would be going in the wrong direction to support this bill. If Optometry is an underserved industry then the financial rewards to the practitioners will rise and those seeking to pursue such careers will multiply according to the rules of supply and demand which we ignore at our peril. What then of Opthalmologists? Isn't it probable that the lens making industry would rise to underwrite scholarships if we taxpayers were let off the hook? Scholarships from privately vested interests are better than loans for which the taxpayer sees no remuneration commensurate with risk.
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DEGUp's Opinion
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05/17/2016
Why compete with private orgs? Get rid of it.
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What is Senate Bill S. 898?

This bill seeks to make eye care more available by making optometrists eligible to join the National Health Service Corps (NHSC).


The National Health Service Corps (NHSC) is a government program that provides health care, both physical and mental, to individual in underserved communities, usually in inner-city or remote, rural areas. They offer student loan repayment programs to young doctors and health care professionals in order to encourage them to join.


Currently, health care professionals from a wide swath of fields can join—pediatricians, OB-GYNs, as well as people that work in mental health care. This bill would allow optometrists to join as well.

Impact

The National Health Service Corps, optometrists, other eye care professionals, and people that have limited access to optometrists.

Cost of Senate Bill S. 898

A CBO cost estimate is unavailable.

More Information

In-Depth: This bill has bipartisan support, with eight Democrats, five Republicans, and an Independent having signed on as cosponsors in the Senate. A similar version of this bill appeared in the House in the previous Congress.


Of Note: The National Health Service Corps aims to provide health care to those with limited access to health care. This often corresponds with poverty—people with low-incomes have a harder time getting health care. Low-income individuals are also more likely to get eye-related diseases. According to the WHO:

The major causes of blindness in children vary widely from region to region, being largely determined by socioeconomic development, and the availability of primary health care and eye care services.”

Media:

Summary by James Helmsworth
(Photo Credit: Flickr user Plutor)

AKA

National Health Service Corps Improvement Act of 2015

Official Title

A bill to amend the Public Health Service Act to provide for the participation of optometrists in the National Health Service Corps scholarship and loan repayment programs, and for other purposes.

bill Progress


  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The house has not voted
  • The senate has not voted
      senate Committees
      Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions
    IntroducedApril 13th, 2015
    While you're at it, dental care should be covered as well; so many other health related issues are directly or indirectly attributable to a lack of dental care.
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    Eye health is essential and should be provided to low income families.
    Like (3)
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    Why not? People should have access. Ever tried to drive a car or read a book without your glasses? That is what many low income folks have to suffer with every day
    Like (2)
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    I am in my first year of optometry school and am looking into how I can serve, payback student debt, and provide for my future family. Dentist, nurses, PA, and most healthcare positions are included in the NHSC program but not
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    Are your eyes part of your body? Do they need medical care? Then the answer is clearly yes.
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    This program should not exist, health care is a luxury not a right. If you can't afford it then you are not meant to get it. If you can't afford it because you make stupid financial decisions like $100 sneakers for all your kids then you don't deserve any assistance, especially from taxpayers. If you can't afford it because you can't be bothered to work or work enough hours then you don't deserve any assistance, especially from taxpayers. Drop the freeloading socialist programs.
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    Considering the widespread use of eye glasses in the U.S. this should be a no-brainer. I'm surprised they aren't already in.
    Like (1)
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    The fact we have three agencies listed which would become involved shows we would be going in the wrong direction to support this bill. If Optometry is an underserved industry then the financial rewards to the practitioners will rise and those seeking to pursue such careers will multiply according to the rules of supply and demand which we ignore at our peril. What then of Opthalmologists? Isn't it probable that the lens making industry would rise to underwrite scholarships if we taxpayers were let off the hook? Scholarships from privately vested interests are better than loans for which the taxpayer sees no remuneration commensurate with risk.
    Like (1)
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    Eyes are one of the most important parts of a human body it allows us to interact with everything and do simple day to day tasks. Everyone should be able to see good without having to spend a fortune just to get it replaced in another year or so.
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    Easier to live and make a living if you can see well.
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    Yeah man! I dont want people who can't see driving cars and shit!
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    Yes. Studies show that eyes are actually part of your body so I think they should be covered.
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    Government get out of health care. Cut spending and taxes. Eliminate programs and agencies. Stop wasting time and money
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    Why compete with private orgs? Get rid of it.
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    Get out of the private sector.
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    This should be at least available, maybe not a priority when compared to basic nutritional needs but why wouldn't it at least be available.
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    Get rid of this unnecessary agency as well!
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    There should be no Obamacare!
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    Why not? Seems like a fair change...
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    Healthcare obviously should extend to the eyes for those in need.
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