Shortly after the official implementation date of an important modification to the Federal Trade Commission's Contact Lens rule, National Taxpayers Union (NTU) President Pete Sepp offered the following statement:
This week should mark the successful conclusion of a half-decade effort to update and strengthen a rulemaking that has served vision care consumers as well as taxpayers admirably. The original Contact Lens Rule, along with its predecessor known as the Eyeglass Rule, stands out as an example of how regulatory officials can avoid overbearing strictures on the marketplace and instead embrace innovation and competition.
Because the Contact Lens Rule opened up so much freedom of choice in how individuals purchase eye care goods and services, taxpayers have benefitted too. While consumers can save money from having more convenient and affordable options, government employee insurance and other health programs can save tax dollars when they provide or pay for vision care services.
The update process for the Contact Lens Rule has spanned many years, involved painstaking cost-benefit analysis, and allowed ample stakeholder participation. Proposals in Congress to halt, reverse, or otherwise undermine implementation of the updates could not only mean less savings for taxpayers, they could also discourage the thoughtful, sensible approach FTC has undertaken to rulemaking here. The result could be more arbitrary, ungrounded regulations that hamper the economy.
Here's hoping that this victory on behalf of consumers and taxpayers is celebrated by all policymakers. Congress should be joining in the applause of millions of Americans for a job well done.