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October 18, 2016

Competition bureau report supports Wildrose call for dental fee advertising

Putting a stop to advertising restrictions on the dental industry in order to help lower fees for patients is a position supported in a recently released report by the Competition Bureau, Wildrose Shadow Health Minister Drew Barnes said today.

The report on advertising restrictions in the health care system found “rather than saving consumers from low quality services, advertising restrictions can have no meaningful effect on product quality and can, in fact, cause unnecessarily high prices for consumers.”

Wildrose has in the past written a letter to Health Minister Sarah Hoffman providing recommendations to improve transparency and reduce costs for Albertans within the province’s dental system, including:

  • Increasing transparency in the system by encouraging dental offices to post prices for common procedures online;
  • Promoting consumer choice and a competitive market by relaxing the strict limitations on advertising currently in place in the dental profession; and,
  • Ensuring greater public accountability by reviewing the feasibility of splitting the Alberta Dental Association and College into two distinct entities, one for accreditation and one to protect the financial interests of member dentists.

“If this government believes in evidence based decision making, the Health Minister should follow the Competition Bureau’s recommendations,” Barnes said. “I know that hardworking Albertans across our province would take advantage of lower dental fees, particularly during the current economic downturn we are in.”

Removing restrictions on advertising of services would allow Albertans to look for the best price for what can often be expensive dental procedures, including routine checkups.

“Wildrose believes in openness and transparency, and ensuring that Albertans are getting value for their hard earned dollars,” Barnes said. “I will continue to advocate for Albertans within the health care system, and push the NDP government to make changes that will benefit everyday Albertans.”