Newt Gingrich: Don’t let lobbyists raise health costs

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In my home state of Georgia, the governor will soon decide whether to sign a bill outlawing a new technology that allows patients to get a prescription for glasses or contact lenses using a vision test they take themselves, using their laptops and smartphones.

Other state legislatures, including those in Nebraska, Indiana, South Carolina, andOklahoma, are considering similar laws.

Proponents argue that the technology is unsafe, irresponsible, and hurts the business of licensed professionals. But by this logic, the home thermometer, too, is a dangerous tool in the hands of untrained people. Thermometers inserted, timed, and read by doctors or nurses are safer, more accurate, and more responsible. If you are sick enough to need to take your temperature, you are sick enough that you must see a doctor or at least a nurse.

The same alarmists might worry that the more inexpensive thermometers have become, the more people have used them. This, after all, is how dangerous technologies spread. More importantly, allowing millions of people to take their own temperatures cuts into the fees that doctors could charge if only the home thermometer could be banned and the existing supply confiscated.

In the real world, we know that consumers would be up in arms if the convenience of home thermometers was outlawed just because a team of lobbyists felt threatened.

But that’s precisely what’s happening in Georgia and increasingly across the country to promising eye exam technology that’s been approved in 45 states and is available so far in 33.

 

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