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Dental coalition urges health insurance antitrust enforcement

February 05, 2015

By Craig Palmer

Washington – Twelve dental professional organizations urged Congress Feb. 5 to authorize "greater federal antitrust enforcement" against health insurance companies engaged in anticompetitive conduct.

The Organized Dentistry Coalition member organizations offered their "strong support" for legislation introduced by dentist Rep. Paul Gosar, R-Ariz., to apply federal antitrust laws to "the business of health insurance to protect competition and consumers."

"H.R. 494 would amend the McCarran-Ferguson law and authorize the Federal Trade Commission and the Justice Department to enforce the federal antitrust laws against health insurance companies engaged in anticompetitive conduct," the coalition told the House Judiciary Committee, which has legislative jurisdiction. "It would not interfere with the states' ability to maintain and enforce their own insurance regulations, antitrust statutes and consumer protection laws. Because states vary in their enforcement efforts, the impact of the amendment on health insurance companies would differ from state to state," the letter said.

"The bill is narrowly drawn to apply only to the business of health insurance, including dental insurance, and would not affect the business of life insurance, property or casualty insurance and many similar insurance areas. Passage of H.R. 494 would help interject more competition into the insurance marketplace by authorizing greater federal antitrust enforcement in instances where state regulators fail to act. When competition is not robust, consumers are more likely to face higher prices and less likely to benefit from innovation and variety in the marketplace.

"On behalf of our member dentists and their patients, we urge you to cosponsor H.R. 494, The Competitive Health lnsurance Reform Act." Initial cosponsors included dentist Rep. Brian Babin of Texas, 16 other Republicans and Rep. Lloyd Doggett, D-Texas.

Coalition members on the letter to Congress include the American Dental Association, Academy of General Dentistry, American Academy of Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology, American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, American Academy of Periodontology, American Association of Endodontists, American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons, American Association of Orthodontists, American Association of Women Dentists, American College of Prosthodontists, American Society of Dental Anesthesiologists and National Dental Association.