Ohio Dental Association of Minority Dentists
odamd.org

THE PRESIDENT WRITES 

http://www.paulsohi.com/?slide=481

Smile. Teeth-whitening is now available at your local salon.

Recently, US Supreme Court conducted root canal treatment for dental licensing boards across US.   The dental cartels are now suffering from excruciating pain from a root canal gone bad; I am pleased because its victory for the public. Sorry my peers.

US Supreme Court in 6-3 opinion by Justice Anthony Kennedy, on February 25, in North Carolina State Board of Dental Examiners v. Federal Trade Commission recognized excesses of professional licensing boards. The board members are appointed by the Governor possessing no special knowledge or expertise.  Political appointments, for example, the Ohio dental board has 13 board members made up of private dentists, hygienist and one public member.

Case arose in 2006 when the dental board outlawed teeth whitening by salons, spas and other businesses offering teeth-whitening services. FTC sued, arguing that this constitutes unfair competition in violation of 1941 Federal Trade Commission Act.  FTC argued that the board was motivated by financial self-interest, not health concerns, Court agreed.   Board responded that they are immune from being sued because it was a government body, even though it was made up of private professionals.  Supreme Court rejected board’s argument, saying State Government had failed to actively supervise the dental board’s actions because of this failure, the board cannot claim immunity.

Court recognized that Self-regulation by private dentists constituting the board, had led to self-help to curb dental competition.  Supreme Court recognized these so called dental cartels posing as “Learned professionals”, are actually creating arbitrary restrictions against those who pose threat to their own dental practices.   Majority of dental boards members are “Active market participants ” and use laws in the name of protecting the public, but essentially are protecting their own wallets.  Now, with this decision professional boards will be vulnerable to antitrust suits for anti-competition regulation across US.   Supreme Court decision requires Government to conduct “Active Supervision” of the boards to weed out self-created regulations that are unreasonable and financially motivated against their own competing peers and others.  This is a welcome requirement, because it will make government more accountable and transparent.

This is a victory for the public who want teeth-whitening at a reasonable cost under $100.  Same teeth-whitening costs $450 upwards in a dental office.  Truly, a smile and thumbs up for public.

I met with Governor last year urging him to supervise the dental board, Governor responded that dental board is autonomous body and he lacks authority to supervise them.  Now, with this ruling, it’s imperative that Ohio must engage in active supervision of all professional licensing boards (dentists, physicians, chiropractors, pharmacists and others). Supervising every step in what these professional boards actually do and stop them in their tracks if they operate abusively knowing that they can never be sued.

In Ohio, the situation is worse; private general dentists that make up the dental board restrict general dentistry practice for a dentist, if that dentist gets additional education to specialize in dentistry.   Anti-competition regulation currently enforced in Ohio. This is yet another example of financial self-interest regulation.  Imagine if you are a lawyer who gets an additional continuing education in real estate law, now that lawyer will be outlawed to practice any other areas in law other than real estate. This is absurd current licensing restriction upon free dental market operations in Ohio.


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