The American Dental Association has hired a former congressman who is now at Arent Fox to lobby for it in Washington.
Former Representative Philip English (R-Pa.) is advocating for the organization on Employee Retirement Income Security Act dental insurance coverage policies, according to lobbying registration paperwork filed with Congress on Tuesday. English, a senior government relations adviser at Arent, is handling the account with Amy Demske, a senior government relations director at the firm.
The association in 2012 pushed Congress to pass the Dental Insurance Fairness Act, which Representative Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.) introduced to amend ERISA. The bill, which died in committee, would have stopped insurance companies from barring secondary insurance plans from paying dental care costs and given patients the ability to allow out-of-network dentists to seek payments from insurance companies directly.
The organization said in a letter seeking co-sponsors that passage of Gosar's bill would bring "a more equitable system for dental patients, making dental care more affordable and accessible."
Said the dental organization: "Unfair practices have crept into common practices of dental benefit plans. They hinder patients' ability to receive the full benefits for which they pay. In some cases, this can shift funds that should cover those benefits into profits for the dental insurance industry."
The association spent $2.6 million on federal lobbying in 2012, according to congressional records. For its advocacy efforts, the group used its own staffers, as well as lobbyists from Drinker Biddle & Reath, American Capitol Group, The Nickles Group and The Smith-Free Group.