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Reblogged:Cheap, Easy-to-Get Glasses?

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Over at the Atlantic, Yascha Mounk asks and observes: Why is it so difficult to get a new pair of glasses or contacts in [the United States]? It's easier pretty much everywhere else.

The short answer is, unsurprisingly, the same as for why Americans used to be unable to buy hearing aids over the counter: regulation.

Mounk goes through the gory details of that in his piece, but what really interested me, apart from his noting that it's easy and painless to buy glasses almost everywhere else, was the following case he pitches to end the farce:
Image by Ovidiu Creanga, via Unsplash, license.
Even in times of extreme polarization and a deeply broken Congress, this is one piece of sensible legislation that should be able to command bipartisan support. Republicans who believe in the free market should look on this red tape as an unnecessary intrusion on free enterprise. Democrats who care about the well-being of the socioeconomically disadvantaged -- and are worried about the health disparities between different ethnic groups -- should be outraged by the unreasonable burden the situation places on underprivileged Americans.

Put Americans in charge of their own vision care, and abolish mandatory eye exams. [bold added]
I will admit some pessimism here: On the evidence, I doubt partisans on either side actually care about what they say they care about.

But then again, I laughed for a similar reason when I first learned of efforts to make OTC hearing aids a reality.

Sometimes, small changes for the better can happen despite general momentum away from freedom, and we can always hope the right people learn the right lessons from their success: So here's hoping I'm wrong again!

-- CAV

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