| Journal of the Arizona Dental Association, June-July 2013
GregM. Pafford, DDS
Your Arizona dental delegation returned late last
month from the ADA’s annual Washington Leadership
Conference. Each of the 535 total members of the
US Senate and House of Representatives is assigned
a dentist from their respective districts and states.
These dentists make an annual trek to Washington
to carry dentistry’s message to their elected officials
on Capitol Hill. This year 11 dentists from Arizona,
along with AzDA’s Executive Director Kevin Earle,
made the trip to Washington to speak to our Arizona
representatives and senators. We went to Washington
because we wanted to gain a better understanding of
the issues that affect dentists on a national level and
play an active role in the legislation that affects the
practice and practitioners of dentistry.
This year’s discussion topics included our perpetual
pursuit of the repeal of the McCarran–Ferguson
Act that provides insurance companies a limited
exemption from federal anti-trust laws—laws to
which almost every business in the country is sub-
ject. Through compromises to help boost its chance
of being heard in the Senate, this version of the bill
would apply only to the business of health insurance,
and would include dental insurance. The bill would
bring health insurance companies in line with the rest
of the American business community by eliminat-
ing the special treatment granted to them almost 65
years ago with the passage of the McCarran-Ferguson
law. Today, virtually all policy makers recognize the
need to curtail the rising costs of health insurance
and the need to furnish consumers with more cover-
age options. This bill could increase competition in
the insurance marketplace by fostering greater federal
anti-trust enforcement in instances where state regula-
tors fail to act. Dentists, their patients, and the public
at large are disadvantaged by McCarran-Ferguson’s
negative impact on competition among entities in the
health insurance industry. Everyone would benefit
from its repeal.
During our time in DC, we also lobbied for support
of the Dental Insurance Fairness Act that would
ensure coordination of benefits and assignment of
benefits in dental plans that do not fall under state
laws, such as self-funded plans. The all-too-common
problem is that even though family members pay pre-
miums for coverage by two separate dental plans, the
plans’ rules prohibit a secondary insurer from paying
any of the cost of care. This bill allows the dentist to
receive up to 100 percent of expenses from a com-
bination of the primary and secondary plans. To do
otherwise provides the insurance industry with an
unfair gain at the expense of dentists. An example of
Atop the Capitol Dome (L-R): Dr. Jason Dittberner, Dr. Bryan Shanahan, AzDA Executive Director
Kevin Earle, Dr. Randy Snyder, Dr. Gary Jones, Dr. Michael LaCorte, Congressman Paul Gosar.
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