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Letters: Read the law

February 04, 2013

The medical device tax, along with more than a dozen other revenue raisers was well-documented nearly three years ago in the underlying legislation. Once the unified bill was signed into law by President Obama in March 2010, it was clear that our dental practices would be highly impacted in many ways other than simply higher taxes.

But as happens all too often, most practicing health care professionals were too busy running practices and remained unaware of the more than modest impact it would have on our practices. I don't blame anyone for feeling overwhelmed by the idea of perusing a 2,500-plus-page document; but in the end, its statutes and regulations will determine how we deliver and receive health care.

Whether or not individual dentists support the new law, the harried and hostile manner in which it is being implemented is creating all sorts of upheavals for our physician colleagues, and in the end, for us. The egregiously short regulatory timeline has created extremely high hurdles for organizations such as the ADA to help create a better law in the long term. The medical device tax is just one example.

The idea that such an onerous tax (the MDT starts with the first dollar of sales; not on profits after repayment of initial development costs) along with other revenue raisers such as increased payroll taxes and a Medicare surtax, would not impact dental practices was naïve at best; hostile and destructive at worst.

This new law will permeate almost every nook and cranny of our lives. Disregard its existence at your own risk. Read the law, listen to those who have already done so and do the best you can to protect your practice, your rights as a patient and your family's quality of health care.

Joel L. Strom, D.D.S., M.S.
Fellow, Unruh Institute of Politics
University of Southern California
Los Angeles