KDA Today

KDA Today

For Immediate Release

Date: Feb 21st, 2012
Contact: Dr. Kevin Wall
Phone: 800-292-1855
Email: info@kyda.org

All for One and One for All!

One of the perks of being president of the KDA is that you get invited to the annual "goose hunt" in Owensboro in the middle of January.  Past presidents have spoken about this event as one of the highlights of their year.  I have never done anything like this, so I was excited about the opportunity. After spending hours reading Dick Cheney's book on how to hunt fowl, and cleaning and oiling the SKS rifle complete with grenade launcher, which I inherited from my father, I received word that the hunt was canceled.  Apparently the geese heard that I was coming.  The real reason the pursuit was canceled was that the winter had been so mild across the country, the geese did not migrate south and there were too few to hunt. I suggested we go to any local golf course, as there seems to be a plethora of the birds, which are an uninvited nuisance.

For the past three years, the KDA has been trying to pass legislation, which would prohibit insurance companies from setting fees for services that they don't even cover.  Apparently, they can use this as a selling tool when they are marketing their products to employers.  They can say "We don't cover this service, but we have negotiated a price with the providers."  As providers we hear, "We don't cover implants, but you can only charge this amount."  How can an entity like an insurance company dictate these fees and try to control the providers in this manner?  To me, this is like a grocery store telling the hardware store they can only charge $2 for a hammer when the grocery store has no idea about the expenses of the hardware store.

Last year, we had a bill ready to go, but it failed to get out for a hearing.  We took that same bill tweaked it, sent it to the ADA for evaluation, got a sponsor and were determined to get this passed this year.  We were told by our sponsor that the Senators and Representatives would look more favorably upon us if we tried to work with the insurance companies on a compromise.  Discussions were held and both sides have held tight to their positions.  Our bill was filed, and the insurance side filed an amendment to our bill which would allow them to offer plans to employers and to providers.  One plan would prohibit the insurance companies from setting fees for non-covered services, and one plan would allow them to set fees.

 

The insurance lobby is big and strong and they have multiple lobbyists with a lot of money.  Many other states have fought this same battle and some have garnered some great successes.  Some are stuck at an impasse like we are.  The insurance companies have learned from the earlier defeats and they have increased their efforts and money in trying to make sure this does not happen again.  We are fighting an uphill battle, even with our legislators, one of who said they could not support our efforts because our bill is anti-business, but the Executive Board has voted not to accept the amendment and move forward with our original bill.

We have hired a larger lobbying firm with a stronger voice that was also instrumental in getting the optometrist's legislation passed last year.  They have remained optimistic, yet we may be forced to pull our bill again this year and bolster our member lobbying efforts and try again next year.  The plan as of this writing is to move forward and submit our original bill and see what happens.

We will continue to contact the membership and I ask you to consider two things.  First, our KDPAC has little money and we need money to improve our position in Frankfort.  Consider making a contribution to our PAC. Secondly, the legislators are greatly influenced when they hear from their constituents.  Consider contacting your representatives.  When the legislators hear from their constituents, especially en masse, it makes them more likely to vote in our favor.  We have written several times about CAPWIZ.  This is our way to quickly communicate with our state and national representatives.  When we send out a CAPWIZ email I encourage you to take a moment and send an email.  The more emails they receive, the louder our voice, and the louder our voice, the more likely we are to be heard.  Do your part to help your profession, which in turn, helps your practice by staving off the efforts of others who are trying to control the way we practice dentistry.  We can be like the small group of musketeers fighting a tyrannical monarch shouting, "All for one, and one for all!"

 

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