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2014 Washington Conference

Event Date: 
April 15, 2014

DTA Members Make Their Voices Heard on Capitol Hill

During the recent Washington Conference, DTA members set a new record for the number of face-to-face meetings with Congressional members and their staffs with nearly 50 exchanges. Each offered DTA members who attended the conference an unparalleled opportunity to educate Congressional members about the onerous nature of the medical device excise tax, the impact of the Sunshine Act on their businesses and the dental industry’s involvement in the Ad Council oral health literacy campaign.

“It is clear the we are really beginning to see an impact from our members’ visits on Capitol Hill,” said DTA President and CEO Gary Price. “With more experience, our members had much more successful meetings. They really seem to be getting into the process and connecting with people.”

Members touched on three important topics during their visits:

1. Medical Device Excise Tax

The impact of the device tax on dental companies is disproportionate to the rest of the medical device industry because there was very little additional dental coverage in the Affordable Care Act. DTA estimates that the tax will be almost 40 times the value to our industry of additional dental care being provided.

2. Sunshine Act

There are unintended consequences for companies under the Sunshine Act reporting requirements. The transfers of value made to dentists are very small (perhaps the cost of a pizza for a lunch and learn session with the office staff). The added cost to develop and maintain a reporting mechanism is dramatic for DTA members’ businesses. The intent of the law could be maintained if the reporting limit on transfers was raised to $500 and, perhaps even more importantly, that the aggregate spending requirement was eliminated. To help DTA emphasize this point, we will soon be launching a survey requesting members’ stories about the trials and tribulations they’ve experienced in dealing with the requirements. More information will be released about this soon.

3. The Impact of Oral Health on Systemic Health

Oral health is a critical component of American’s overall health. Each year, more studies show the link between poor oral health and other diseases and conditions in the body, such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease and low birth weight babies or early-term childbirth. Oral health care not only improves overall health, but produces a positive return on investment by reducing medical costs and saving tax dollars. Better oral health also increases workforce productivity.

So if you weren’t able to attend the Washington Conference, what can you still do help? 

  • Maintain constant contact with your elected officials. Call their national and district offices on a regular basis to remind them of the issue and to ask for updates on the progress of repeal.
  • Invite your elected representatives to visit your company. Plan a time, introduce them to employees. Tell them about your business.  Always share your personal story about how the tax affects you.
  • Remind them of the lack of dental coverage in the ACA. Let them know that even the minimal coverage for children was skirted by the bureaucrats and very few children gained coverage.
  • Offer information and data. Follow-up after your contact if you need more time to collect information. Always follow-through.
  • Use telephone and e-mail to communicate. Letters take weeks to get through security screening and aren’t the most effective communication method. Click here for a sample e-mail that you can use to reach out to your representatives and senators to let them know how you feel about this tax.

You are the best resource the industry has when it comes to building relationships with our elected officials. Thank you for your support.

DTA would like to thank the following member companies who sent representatives: 3M, A-dec, Inc., Aegis Communications, Air Techniques, Inc., Bausch Articulating Papers, Bisco, Inc., DMG America, Drake Precision Laboratories, Henry Schein, IDS, Kettenbach USA, Midmark Corporation, NDC, Patterson Dental, Preventech, Septodont, SS White and Young Innovations, Inc.