Monday, January 16, 2012

The Dental Cartel Objects to Competition from Dental Therapists, Out of Concern for Public Safety

From Governing.com:

"Try finding a dentist in the remotest rural or deepest urban pockets of the land, and for blatantly economic reasons, they just aren’t there. That’s why states are looking to fix the problem by creating a so-called mid-level dental provider, sometimes referred to as a dental therapist or advanced dental therapist. Much like a nurse practitioner (NP) or physician assistant (PA) is to a doctor, this provider would be educated and licensed to perform basic dental services -- routine checkups, cleanings, filling cavities and extracting teeth -- under the supervision of a fully trained dentist. These providers would be charged with providing care in underserved areas."

MP: Sounds like a great innovative alternative that would make dental care more available, convenient, and affordable, right?  Sure, unless you're a member of the "dental cartel," aka the American Dental Association, and you don't appreciate the possibility of increased competition for your services.  Here's more from the article:

"In much the same way that the American Medical Association fought against the creation of NPs and PAs, the American Dental Association (ADA) and its state chapters are lobbying hard to thwart state legislatures as they work to create this new level of dental care providers, who are common and well liked in other parts of the world."

MP: It's probably not too surprising that the dental cartel's main publicly stated objection to the creation of a new level of dental provider is their concern about the public's "safety."  The cartel's possible loss of business from increased competition hasn't been mentioned, but I think we know better, don't we?


15 Comments:

At 1/16/2012 3:42 PM, Blogger Benjamin said...

And we do we license lawyers? To help consumers, right?

You ever notice when you are talking to a lawyer, he always advises you to "get a good lawyer."

The statements underlines a fact: Despite licensing, the bulk of lawyers are not good.

So why the licensing?

I might die if I visit a bad doctor. I ain't going to die if I visit a bad lawyer.

 
At 1/16/2012 4:01 PM, Blogger Jon Murphy said...

I might die if I visit a bad doctor. I ain't going to die if I visit a bad lawyer.

Depends if you're facing a capital murder charge.

But that argument is used all the time. Here in NH, we are considering doing away with licensing for hairdressers. In a Concord Monitor article, a local hairdresser argues against the bill saying that misapplication of the cosmetology arts can severely harm customers.

In the end, it doesn't come down to safety. If it was about safety, we should ban cosmetology and dentistry and pharmaceutics. In the end, it's about competition.

 
At 1/16/2012 10:03 PM, Blogger Methinks said...

Jon Murphy,

I'm happy to hear NH is considering it. Certainly, a hairdresser who doesn't know what he's doing can harm you. Even if he's licensed.

You're right. Regardless of the stated intentions, regulation is always about squashing competition.

And if I choose to go to someone who is unlicensed, what business is that of the state?

 
At 1/16/2012 11:47 PM, Blogger sethstorm said...


And if I choose to go to someone who is unlicensed, what business is that of the state?

Everything.

 
At 1/17/2012 3:01 AM, Blogger Dr. Seabuscuit Hufflepuff said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

 
At 1/17/2012 3:09 AM, Blogger Dr. Seabiscuit Hufflepuff said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

 
At 1/17/2012 3:10 AM, Blogger Dr. Seabiscuit Hufflepuff said...

Seth, I would LOVE to know why the state has authority over whether or not I CHOOSE to see a licensed hairdresser or dentist.

 
At 1/17/2012 7:01 AM, Blogger geoih said...

Quote from Benjamin: "I might die if I visit a bad doctor. I ain't going to die if I visit a bad lawyer."

So, are you saying there are no bad doctors? You can only answer yes, or your position is contradictory.

 
At 1/17/2012 8:52 AM, Blogger Jon Murphy said...

Why not, in lieu of licensing, we have an independent, private organization that rates hairdressers/lawyers/doctors/contractors/etc.? Similar to how products can get the Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval or the BBB?

 
At 1/17/2012 9:29 AM, Blogger Davej said...

The ultimate end of impletmenting dental therepists is that you get lesser educated, lesser trained providers. It will replace the DDS/DMD degree for general practitioners without lowering costs at all. Do PAs or NPs charge less than MD/DOs in general practice? Do you even know while under a 3rd party payer system?

If there is a need in rural areas, create programs that partner with dental schools to get them out there. Why would there be any different incentive for a DT to practice rurally over a dentist?

All that will happen is creation of a new industry that will themselves fight against competition.

With their limited scope and autonomy, dentists will become administrators and managers of DTs, and specialists that will capitalize on the more complex patient.

Competition for dentists is not other dentists, it is other discretinary spending.

 
At 1/17/2012 2:42 PM, Blogger geoih said...

Quote from Davej: "All that will happen is creation of a new industry that will themselves fight against competition."

Your argument against competition is that it will create another constituency vying for government protection from competition?

If the government stays out of the market, then consumers select the winners, not the bureaucracy.

 
At 1/17/2012 2:42 PM, Blogger geoih said...

Quote from Davej: "All that will happen is creation of a new industry that will themselves fight against competition."

Your argument against competition is that it will create another constituency vying for government protection from competition?

If the government stays out of the market, then consumers select the winners, not the bureaucracy.

 
At 1/17/2012 4:02 PM, Blogger NormanB said...

I'm old enough to remember when 'readers' could only be gotten through prescriptions as 'you could hurt your eyes' withoiut a full examination. Now they are $6. Let's liberalize the law and see if the dire consequences occur. My bet: The won't.

 
At 1/17/2012 5:52 PM, Blogger Davej said...

Would the "dental cartel" really be threatened by dental therapists if the DTs are supervised by, or practice in a clinic owned/ operated by a "fully trained dentist"?

The point of my earlier post is that once you factor insurance and the business structure that the DTs will work in, availability and affordability wont change much, if at all.

Even without gov intervention insurance companies will largely dictate fees. And the cost of doing business as either a dentist or a therapist is the same.

I will concede that in remote villages in Alaska, this program can be beneficial.

 
At 1/17/2012 9:02 PM, Blogger Methinks said...

Davej,

Dental insurance isn't as widely available as medical insurance. Quite a lot of dental expenses are paid out of pocket.

 

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