How much power should dentists and doctors wield over competitors who aren't doctors when the power to regulate also potentially could reduce competition that benefits consumers?
The U.S. Supreme Court announced last week that it would hear oral arguments in October in North Carolina Board of Dental Examiners v. the Federal Trade Commission. The case could affect consumer access to healthcare services, pricing and physicians' control over determining who's qualified to provide services.
All 50 states require the practice of medicine and dentistry to be regulated by doctors and dentists. But in North Carolina, the FTC accused the dental board of essentially exercising monopoly power by forbidding dental hygienists in spas and mall kiosks from using hydrogen peroxide solutions to whiten teeth.