By Drew Armstrong –
As our country gears up for the inauguration of President-Elect Trump, there is a renewed sense of optimism that the executive branch will work with Congress to “drain the swamp” by eliminating the cronyism that has plagued previous administrations.
In the meantime, it is all too easy to dismiss the current lame-duck congressional members as just a bunch of placeholders waiting to leave office. In reality, this transitional period presents a unique temptation for Congress to push through legislation while no one is looking that rewards special interest groups in big ways.
One of the main temptations this year is to reward the billion-dollar medical lobby for campaign contributions by passing the protectionist Contact Lens Consumer Health Protection Act (CLCHPA) before Christmas, allowing the American Optometric Association (AOA) and its cohorts at Johnson & Johnson to return to its pre-2004 monopoly.
History of the Contact Lens Monopoly
For many years, contact lens wearers were held captive by this contact lens cartel. Doctors refused to provide copies of prescriptions, giving patients no other recourse but to fill their contact lens orders at the optometrist’s office at inflated retail prices. It was a textbook example of cronyism – doctors and their favored lens manufacturers won at the expense of everyone else.