The Issues from Lobby Day 2018: McCarran Ferguson and Action for Dental Health

Written By: Janae Momchilovich

Janae is a Legislative associate for Marquette ASDA who recently traveled to Washington D.C. for Lobby Day 2018

McCarran-Ferguson Repeal for Health Insurance

Current legislation exempts insurance companies from federal antitrust laws. This means insurance companies can collaborate and set fee schedules that dentists and other healthcare providers have no control over. The antitrust exemption eliminates insurance competition throughout the healthcare market.

The current system does not generate a good environment for dentists to provide the highest quality care. It also does not allow for patients to maximize their benefits within a competitive marketplace.

Passage of this bill would once again include insurance companies in the list of parties responsible for abiding by antitrust laws. The way in which this bill is written is to only include the healthcare portion of insurance and is therefore healthcare-focused. The ADA and ASDA believe that this will create a more competitive marketplace for insurance companies and allow consumers more autonomy when making decisions about their healthcare insurance.

This bill strongly passed in the House of Representatives on March 22, 2017 (416-7). The senate is currently working on developing a sister bill and is hoping to introduce it very soon. WDA and Marquette ASDA asked our Senators to support this repeal

MU ASDA Minute Video: McCarran-Ferguson Repeal

Action for Dental Health

Programs like Give Kids a Smile and Mission of Mercy provide access to care to over 500,000 individuals in need of dental care. Funding for these programs is crucial. However, current wording in legislation prevents these state-run programs from accessing federal grants. The Action for Dental Health Act would remove state barriers and allow organizations to apply for national grants that already exist.

Much of the dental care currently provided in underserved areas is on an emergency-only basis and costs the healthcare industry upwards of $1.5 billion annually for treatment. In addition, increased funding and support would allow a shift of focus from emergency-focused to a preventive approach. Preventive measures also include community water fluoridation. Focusing on prevention would allow hospitals to be more directed on treating other medical emergencies and for healthcare dollars to be utilized more efficiently.

If this bill passes, it would allow programs centered around providing dental care to an in-need population access to federal grants. Increased funding would increase access to care especially in underserved communities and would allow programs like Mission of Mercy and Give Kids a Smile to expand their impact.

This bill passed overwhelmingly in the House of Representatives on February 26,2018 (387-13). Action for Dental Health Act has been recently introduced into the Senate. We asked Wisconsin Senators to cosponsor and support discussion on this bill.

 For more information on these issues, Issue Sheets can be found at: 

https://www.ada.org/en/advocacy/adpac/upcoming-events/ada-dentist-and-student-lobby-day

Contact Janae at Janae.Momchilovich@mu.edu