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Doctors of Optometry Cheer Obama's Call to Action on Children's Vision
Date:2/6/2009

President Highlights Healthy Vision and Classroom Learning Link as SCHIP Legislation Signed Into Law

WASHINGTON, Feb. 6 /PRNewswire/ -- The American Optometric Association (AOA), the voice for more than 36,000 frontline providers of eye and vision care in communities nationwide, today commended President Barack Obama for singling out the importance of eye and vision care when he signed an historic expansion of the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP).

"No child should be falling behind at school because he can't hear the teacher or see the blackboard. I refuse to accept that millions of our children fail to reach their full potential because we fail to meet their basic needs," said President Obama as he signed the bill into law during a White House ceremony on Wednesday.

The four-year reauthorization of SCHIP, approved by Congress on Jan. 29, will expand eligibility and funding to cover approximately 11 million children nationwide. Currently, SCHIP provides health coverage - including eye and vision care benefits set by the states - to about 7 million children of disadvantaged and low-income families. The reauthorization provides an additional $32.8 billion for children's health care over the next four and a half years.

"Optometry commends President Obama for recognizing from the start of his term the essential link between healthy vision and learning," said Peter H. Kehoe, O.D., president of the American Optometric Association. "The AOA has worked to make children's vision a top health care priority in Washington, DC. The President's statement on Wednesday, the significant expansion of SCHIP and the recent reintroduction in Congress of the AOA-backed Vision Care for Kids Act demonstrates that progress has been made but there's still more work to be done."

SCHIP was created in 1997 as a joint federal-state program to provide health insurance to children who
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SOURCE American Optometric Association
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