Dear Senator Cassidy:
On behalf of more than 2.8 million Americans for Prosperity activists in all 50 states, I write in opposition to your legislation, S. 2777, the Contact Lens Consumer Health Protection Act of 2016. Your legislation would restrict people’s ability to buy their contact lenses from sellers other than their eye doctor — leading to higher costs for contact lens wearers, and higher barriers to entry among contact lens providers.
Historically the process of buying contact lenses strongly favored eye care providers and suppliers at the expense of patients. This thankfully changed in 2004 when the Fairness to Contact Lens Consumers Act (FCLCA) became law, prohibiting doctors from withholding patients’ prescription information. Patients fare much better under the law because it provides them with greater choice among contact lens providers and access to lower prices. Your legislation would roll back this decade of precedent and strengthen the relationship between doctors and suppliers.
Under current law, the consumer is served. Eye care providers have eight business hours to respond to requests from third-party contact lens providers to verify the prescription. Under your legislation, however, prescribers may block verification and the sale by simply responding in a partial way in violation of the law. Patients would end up bearing the burden in terms of higher costs and inconvenience.
We encourage you to reconsider your legislation and take a free market approach to protecting consumers’ rights to find alternative providers that meet their needs. Americans for Prosperity opposes this legislation and we urge free market supporters to do the same.
Vice President of Government Affairs Americans for Prosperity