Committee Approves Rep. Green Health Legislation for Low-Income Children
March 4, 2009
Washington, DC - Representative Gene Green today announced that the Committee on Energy and Commerce has passed his Vision Care for Kids Act of 2009 by voice vote, which establishes and authorizes state grants to provide exams and follow-up treatment for uninsured children identified to have a potential vision disorder.
“The Vision Care for Kids Act creates a much-needed grant program to provide follow-up vision care children with vision disorders who do not have access to these vision services,” said Green. “Today’s bill gives states the resources they need to cover vision services to millions of low-income children.”
Of the 36 states that require preliminary vision screenings, 26 of them do not require follow-up exams for children who fail screenings. “This lack of vision care jeopardizes a child’s development and can unfortunately lead to life-long vision impairment,” said Green.
The Vision Care for Kids Act, H.R. 577, will authorize a new grant program that works with states’ efforts to provide follow-up exams and services to low-income children who have previously received a diagnosis. The legislation provides priority to those children under the age of nine, allows up to 10 percent of the grant to be used for education and awareness, and for funds to be used for services to correct identified vision disorders.
The Vision Care for Kids Act authorizes $65 million over five years, with a state matching requirement of 25 percent. The Vision Care for Kids Act has been endorsed by: the American Academy of Ophthalmology, the American Optometric Association, the Vision Council of America, Prevent Blindness America, the National Head Start Association, Reading is Fundamental, the National Association of School Nurses, the American Public Health Association
“Unless caught early and appropriately treated, vision disorders can lead to irreversible damage that can hinder a child’s normal growth, development, and opportunity to succeed,” said Green. “These children deserve a healthy start to their educational and social development.”