New legislation may establish a nationwide demonstration project to evaluate the fiscal impact of Medicare coverage for low vision devices. H.R. 3749, introduced by Reps. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) and Gus Bilirakis (R-FL), would initiate the five-year demo project. It is intended to provide data that would assist Congress in making changes to the current Medicare program, which does not pay for magnifiers needed by low vision patients. The number of individuals who will participate and receive low vision devices will be determined later. The legislation makes $12.5 million available for the project over five years, and a referral by an ophthalmologist or optometrist would be required.
The American Council of the Blind (ACB) is credited with initiating this action and acquiring its congressional sponsors. Advocates are encouraged to contact their members of the U.S. House of Representatives and urge them to co-sponsor H.R. 3749.