This would be first law in the nation to replace a treating dentist or doctor’s health care decisions with that of legislators

By Michael Guirguis

Few of us today were alive during the New Deal Era when the U.S. Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis spoke about states being the laboratories of democracy. California above all other states embodies that sentiment and leads the nation in turning progressive ideas into public policy reforms. But something is quietly brewing in California’s laboratory with ill effect on consumers and special concern for health care professionals.

AB 1998 was introduced by Assemblyman Evan Low ostensibly to protect consumers from the innovative and popular orthodontic treatment using clear aligners that entered the dental care market 6 years ago, cutting costs for such treatment by more than half and relieving patients from office visits. Despite this orthodontic treatment being used by more than 1 million consumers already, AB 1998 first required that a patient could not receive any orthodontic treatment without first having a dental office visit.

Then COVID-19 hit and necessity effectively demonstrated that dentists find new ways to evaluate and treat patients out of the office through technology. That is when this laboratory experiment went horribly wrong.

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