Votes are still being counted in many races across the country, but in Virginia, voters chose to return all but one of their incumbent House representatives to Washington. Voters in Virginia’s second congressional district, which includes Virginia Beach, part of Norfolk, Williamsburg, and the Eastern Shore, chose a new representative, electing Republican Jen Kiggans. There will be an opportunity to meet with our Virginia Congressional delegation in DC at the ADA’s Lobby Day in March, and I encourage you to do so.
Beyond who’s representing you in Washington, one of the most consequential victories for dentists across the country took place in Massachusetts. And, to be clear, this was a victory for patients and dentists everywhere – the VDA was among 47 state dental societies that contributed to this campaign, along with the ADA.
Massachusetts voters resoundingly passed a ballot initiative requiring a minimum percentage of dental insurance premiums to be spent on patient care. Ensuring that the money that patients pay for essential dental care goes to actual care is not only good policy, but we can see that it’s widely supported by voters.
Third-party payers spent millions of dollars opposing these long-overdue reforms. But when they considered the facts, voters supported transparency, accountability, consumer protections, and the requirement that dental insurance providers must spend a minimum percentage of premiums on patient care.
Considering the overwhelming public support for the initiative in Massachusetts, we will be discussing the next steps for Virginia this week with the VDA Board of Directors and in January when the VDA House of Delegates meets at Dental Days at the Capitol. Registration is open for Dental Days and I hope to see you there. This is where you can make your voice heard.
While those of you in swing districts may be wishing for a reprieve from the political ads, don’t hold your breath. All 140 seats in the Virginia General Assembly are up for election next year and you’ll see activity ramping up ahead of the next General Assembly session in January.
Those 140 lawmakers will be making decisions that will directly impact you, your practice, and your patients for years to come. These off-year state elections are when the VDA PAC can make the biggest difference and when it’s most important that our profession has a seat at the table. I have donated to the VDA PAC and encourage you to do the same or to increase your contribution.
This could be a watershed moment for protecting patients and improving the delivery of essential dental care for all Virginians, and it’s clear from the outcome in Massachusetts that voters see it too.
The next steps are up to you.
CEO, Virginia Dental Association