Friday, February 25, 2011

Beshear Signs Optometrist Bill

Gov. Steve Beshear has signed into law the bill that allows optometrists to perform laser surgery. Beshear claims that this is about providing access, although as we noted the other day, nearly everyone in Kentucky lives within an hour's drive of an ophthalmologist.

Beshear rationalizes this lobbying coup by citing the bipartisan nature of the bill's passage. (Yes, it's true! The optometrists bought votes on both sides of the aisle.) Finally, we are supposed to take comfort in Beshear's promise that he personally will appoint the members of the oversight board, based on his extensive experience as a practicing opthalmologist, I mean lawyer.

Kentucky had begun to make a name for itself by the number of medical breakthroughs that occur here: the Abiocor heart, the hand transplant, the development of the cervical cancer vaccine. Now, we and Oklahoma are in a race to the bottom as the only two states in the country that allow non-medical doctors to perform laser surgery.

In the final analysis, however, consumers will get exactly what they pay for.

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