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'Criminal' competition

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Monday, Jan. 23, 2012

Ophthalmologists' blurry, self-serving legislative vision of consumers' eye-care choices must be rejected. It would needlessly increase competitors' regulatory burden, insult the public's intelligence and ignore existing oversight.

The American Academy of Ophthalmology -- made up of physicians -- is all for the so-called Healthcare Truth and Transparency Act. It would force optometrists and opticians to disclose in all their advertising that they aren't physicians and subject them to Federal Trade Commission scrutiny.

Ophthalmologists are "trying to get government to clamp down on ... competitors" with the bill, says Michelle Minton, director of the Competitive Enterprise Institute's Insurance Studies Project.

The public can tell eye-care professionals apart. State boards regulate eye care. State and federal laws forbid false or misleading ads. With no problem to solve, no new law is needed.

Pennsylvania Congressman Tim Murphy, R-Upper St. Clair, has signed onto this measure.

But as The Heritage Foundation's Diane Katz notes, this bill is "less about protecting public health than about protecting the MDs' monopoly and criminalizing competition." Talk about a bad prescription.



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