Launch of ‘Yes on 793’ – Advocates say measure to expand access and affordability of eye care in state
Published: August 21st, 2018
Yes on 793 has officially launched a coalition of consumer advocates, eldercare groups and retailers dedicated to improving access to affordable and convenient optical care for patients in Oklahoma. The group will advocate support for State Question 793, a November ballot initiative that would allow retail stores to offer vision care services such as eye exams and eyewear.
“Our diverse coalition reflects how communities across Oklahoma are ready to finally bring the state’s outdated optometry laws into the 21st century and catch up with the 47 other states where patients have the freedom to obtain vision care in retail stores,” said Tim Tippit, Chairman of Yes on 793.
“We are honored to be working with these advocates to champion the need for improving access to high-quality vision care services for patients throughout the state. Together, we can help lead Oklahomans to a future with the same choice, convenience and affordability that millions of Americans currently enjoy.”
Yes on 793 coalition members include Oklahomans for Consumer Freedom, Oklahoma Silver Haired Legislature, Oklahoma Retail Merchants Association, Energeyes, Greater Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce, Americans for Prosperity – Oklahoma, Americans for Tax Reform, Costco, Walmart, DaVinci Equity Group and National Vision.
S.Q. 793 would expand consumer choice for vision care by allowing patients to receive eye exams and purchase eyewear at affordable prices in convenient retail locations, such as Walmart and Costco. Oklahoma is one of only three states that does not currently allow patients to receive optical care in retail locations. Last week, the group took initial organizational steps to raise awareness of the measure in the minds of voters and press for approval on the November ballot.
“Oklahoma’s outdated optical laws have long prevented consumers in the state from seeing better selection and variety of prices when shopping for eyewear,” said Gwendolyn Caldwell of Oklahomans for Consumer Freedom. “We are thrilled to be joining Yes on 793 to help bring these common-sense reforms and more choices and freedom to Oklahomans in November.”
“Supporting Yes on 793 means bringing access to quality vision care at affordable prices for older Oklahomans and all patients across the state in need of convenient, lower-cost options,” said John Kusel, member of Oklahoma Silver Haired Legislature. “For seniors living on fixed incomes, this will dramatically expand these choices, and we hope Oklahoma voters will join us in supporting 793 in November.”
In July, Gov. Mary Fallin signed an order authorizing State Question 793 to appear on the November ballot after the Yes on 793 campaign turned in nearly 250,000 signatures to the Secretary of State’s office — more than double the required number of signatures to appear on the ballot. The Secretary of State’s office certified more than 249,000 of the signatures collected by Yes on 793.
“Now that S.Q. 793 is officially on the ballot, we’re excited to move into the campaign phase and be able to demonstrate to Oklahomans how our state’s protective optometry laws line the pockets of special interests and hurt Oklahoma families,” said Tippit. “We fully expect to run a robust campaign because Oklahomans deserve the benefits healthy competition can bring — greater convenience, affordability and more access to high-quality vision care services and products.”
In a press release, the advocacy group describes itself as follows: “Yes on 793 is a coalition of retailers, patients, health professionals and free-market advocates that believe in common sense reform to Oklahoma’s eye care laws. Patients in Oklahoma deserve greater access to vision care while opportunities increase for small businesses and communities.”