Doctors and dentists are hoping Congress gets a little more specific with some proposed financial legislation. According to NPR, a provision of a bill pending in Congress would give broad oversight to the Consumer Financial Protection Agency — to make sure banks and other financial institutions don’t extend credit inappropriately. In its current draft, the bill “would exempt sellers of nonfinancial goods and those not engaged significantly’ in lending. So the measure’s supporters say the bill doesn’t apply to health care practitioners.”

Physicians and dentists are worried, however, because of the word “significantly.” Because that word isn’t well defined, they could eventually be regulated by the CFPA.

Sen. Chris Dodd, chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, said last week that claims by the Chamber that dentists and orthodontists would fall under the purview of the agency are just wrong. In a statement Dodd explained: 

“An orthodontist is not a significant financial player,” Dodd wrote.  “If your orthodontist, or doctor, or dentist lets you pay your bill over a series of months, they’re not covered.  If your local grocer or butcher keeps a tab and bills you at the end of the month, they’re not covered.”


All the same, physicians and dentists are hoping the bill gets “significantly” more specific on those terms.

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