A Message from 2021-2022 CFDDA President
Dr. John Cordoba
For the first time in many years, there are issues coming out of Washington that could affect the way dentistry is practiced in the United States. First, the McCarran-Ferguson anti-trust exemption for health insurance was finally repealed by Congress after many years of effort. This could lead to major changes in health care insurance, including benefits for dental care. For a long period of time, insurance companies have been suspected of anti-competitive activities. Health care providers have been prohibited from colluding to be able to negotiate better benefits and fees from insurance companies. On the other hand, due to McCarran- Ferguson, insurance companies were allowed to act basically as a monopoly. This has resulted in an unfair balance between health care providers and insurance companies, with providers basically helpless to negotiate for better reimbursements. Now the Federal Trade Commission and Department of Justice will be allowed to investigate these companies. One result will hopefully be more fair provision of dental benefits for patients.
Second, there is major push in Congress to add a comprehensive dental benefit in Medicare Part B. This has been a topic for discussion for several years at the ADA level. The ADA is opposed to this benefit since it would impose administrative requirements on each provider and also provide inadequate reimbursement. Anyone familiar with Florida Medicaid knows what this means: administrative headaches with lots of paperwork and with payments well below usual and customary fees. Most payments are below what it takes to cover overhead unfortunately. Instead of a comprehensive plan that would cover all Medicare recipients regardless of income, the ADA is advocating for “a distinct program that would provide dental care to low income older adults”.
Both of these issues illustrate the importance of our advocates at the ADA and at the state level at the Florida Dental Association. Advocacy is one of the most important reasons to be a part of organized dentistry. Without our organizations watching legislative issues, dentistry could very easily get steam rolled by other well-funded groups pushing ideas that would have a negative effect on the way we practice. A great example is dental therapy. This issue has been brought up to the Florida legislature for several years in a row. However, our lobbyists and also the dentists who have participated in Dentists’ Day on the Hill have been able to fight off attempts to pass the legislation that would legalize dental therapists in the State of Florida. As a matter of fact, the issue has had less and less strength with each passing legislative session and hopefully future attempts to reintroduce it will be eliminated soon.
Being a member of organized dentistry at the national, state, component and local levels is an important way of protecting our profession. The higher the percentage of dentists that are members of organized dentistry, the more strength we have. Also, participating in Dentists’ Day on the Hill is a great way of helping the profession. Every dentist should do it at least once. It is an interesting way to see how the legislative process works. It’s amazing to see how much the legislators are unaware of our issues and dentistry in general and it is our chance to inform them. The next Dentists’ Day on the Hill event is planned for February 1, 2022. Registration is available on the FDA website, www. floridadental.org.
We have a great CFDDA Annual Meeting set up for next spring. Dr. J. William Robbins is our main speaker who will discuss interdisciplinary treatment. We will also have a separate speaking agenda for dental team members, one for hygienists and another for assistants and front desk staff. The meeting will be held at Omni Orlando Resort at Championsgate on April 22-23, 2022. Save the date! Online registration is already open for hotel reservations (www.cfdda.org).
Looking forward to seeing you there!