Congressional delegation receives visit from Arkansas dentists

by Billy Tarpley on May 16, 2013

Washington Leadership Conference 2013: (L-R) Dr. Terry Fiddler, Dr. Tuck McDonald, Dr. April Buffington, Sen. John Boozman, Dr. Bob Skinner, Dr. Gene Jines, and Billy Tarpley

The dental profession was well served this week in the nation’s capital as 500+ dentists, including five ASDA members, flew in for the Washington Leadership Conference on May 12 – 14.

Drs Gene Jines of Little Rock, Terry Fiddler of Conway, Bob Skinner of Fort Smith, April Buffington of West Memphis, and F.T. “Tuck” McDonald of Pine Bluff flew to DC on Sunday, May 12 for dinner with Congressman Tom Cotton (R-Dardanelle). Monday and Tuesday were spent in training sessions and visits with the remaining congressional offices. The group also enjoyed dinner with Dr. Lynn Mouden, Chief Dental Officer for the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services in Washington.

During the conference, US House and Senate members were asked to support the following measures:

  • ERISA: H.R. 1798 by Rep. Paul Gosar (R-Arizona and ADA member), the Dental Insurance Fairness Act of 2013. This bill would help consumers receive the full benefit of their dental coverage. Under H.R. 1798, all self-funded dental plans will provide uniform coordination of benefits, which would require secondary insurance to contribute up to the maximum allowance under that plan. In addition, the legislation will permit patients to assign the payment of benefits directly to their dentists, rather than awaiting reimbursement from their insurer.

    Drs. Skinner, Jines and Buffington pause for a photo at the US Capitol

  • MCCARRAN-FERGUSON ANTITRUST: H.R. 911 by Rep. Gosar, the Competitive Health Insurance Reform Act of 2013. This bill would align health insurance companies with the rest of American business community by eliminating the special treatment granted to them almost 65 years ago with the passage of the McCarran-Ferguson law, which exempts insurance companies from antitrust laws.
  • PRO BONO MEDICAL CARE: H.R. 963 by Rep. Diana DeGette (D-Colorado) and Rep. Steve Stivers (R-Ohio), the Coordination of Pro Bono Medically Recommended Dental Care Act. H.R. 963 and its Senate companion S.466 by Sen. Robert Menendez (D-New Jersey) would create a grant program that will support national dental programs that coordinate medically recommended dental care for low income individuals. The dental services will be provided by volunteer dentists at no cost to patients.
  • MEDICAL DEVICE TAX: H.R. 523 by Rep. Erik Paulsen (R-Minnesota), the Protect Medical Innovation Act of 2013. H.R. 523 would repeal the medical device tax, which would require dental equipment, materials, and supplies purchased by a dentist to be taxed. The tax will increase dental costs by $160 million annually. The Senate companion bill is S.232 by Sen Orrin Hatch (R-Utah.)

We applaud our dentists mentioned above for taking out of their practices to lobby Congress on these critical issues on behalf of dentists. Thank you!

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