EDMONTON, AB: Following the news that the Alberta government would provide a public dental fees guide to Albertans, Wildrose Shadown Health Minister Drew Barnes reiterated the need for a comprehensive strategy to increase competition and transparency in Alberta’s dentist system.
A Competition Bureau report on advertising restrictions in the health care system found that “rather than saving consumers from low quality services, advertising restrictions can have no meaningful effect on product quality and can, in face, cause unnecessarily high prices for consumers.”
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.
“Albertans want transparency, market-driven solutions and consumer first policies to help drive down the cost of dental fees,” Barnes said. “We hope that the fee guide has the desired effect, but there is much more that can and should be done to encourage lower costs and consumer choice across the board.”
Wildrose previously wrote a letter to the Health Minister proving 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.
“As part of our commitment to achieving better access and choice throughout Alberta’s health care system, Wildrose supports an approach to dental fees that offers price transparency and cost competitiveness,” Barnes said.