Optometrist Mandate Dies In Senate Education Committee
In February, I wrote about a bill that would renew an onerous mandate on kindergartner and first grader eye exams in Missouri: a mandate which only two other states in the country impose. I voiced my concerns about the bill, not only because of the costs it would unnecessarily impose on Missouri families — health insurance does not typically cover the eye exams and they generally would have to be paid out of pocket — but because of the inconsistency inherent in a state imposing one health mandate while vociferously opposing another health mandate that the federal government is imposing. Earlier this month, I even delivered testimony about the proposal before the Senate Education Committee, which was considering whether to send the proposed law to the floor of the Missouri Senate. Since then, I have been following the issue closely.
Well, yesterday the Education Committee told Missouri families where it stands, voting to not send the bill to the full Senate for further consideration, meaning the bill is effectively dead — for now, anyway. The House is still considering substantially similar legislation, and there are technical pathways through which this legislation could be resurrected or otherwise attached to other bills, and thus reconsidered. I will be on the lookout for all such activities, but the good news is that the prospects for the bill are now very bleak.
Kudos, Senators. There are more effective and efficient ways of promoting eye health for Missouri’s children than through the mandate contemplated here. The Committee made the right decision.