Green takes skills to new arena: Politics

AB 1998 would require a dentist visit before accessing teledentistry services

Antonio Ray Harvey California Black Media | 7/23/2020, midnight

Draymond Green, 30, who has won NBA titles with the Golden State Warriors, is known to be an agitator on the court.

Now, the three-time NBA All-Defensive First Team selection has mounted an attack off the hardwood in another arena: Politics. Green is speaking out, online and off, expressing his displeasure for Assembly Bill (AB) 1998, the “Dental Practice Act,” which is authored by Assemblymember Evan Low (D-Campbell).

Low’s district covers parts of the South Bay and Silicon Valley. Home to a number of tech companies, the area is more than 50 percent White and under 3 percent African-American. Latinos account for about 17 percent of the residents.

Last week, Green fired off a series of tweets directed at AB 1998 and Low because the Assemblymember made reference to him in a published report. “No Californian deserves to be harmed by substandard, profit-hungry care, regardless of whether they’re an NBA champion,” the politician said.

Green took Low’s comment as a flagrant foul - aggressive contact, in this case, coming from a politician against an opponent.

Green shot back, telling Low his bill would hamper low-income communities’ access to dental products.

“The only issue of profits here is you giving more to dentists, while, once again, underserved communities are shut out. Sounds like you’d prefer if I shut up and dribble @Evan_Low,” Green tweeted on July 10, the day Low’s comment surfaced in the media.

AB 1998, the “Dental Practice Act,” if passed by the California Senate, would require dentists to conduct an in-person examination of their patients prior to approving a treatment plan for clear aligners or other orthodontics.

The bill would also prohibit internet companies from offering direct-to-consumer products to Californians until legislation is passed that establishes parameters for how teleorthodontic companies may operate.

Green’s political pushback against AB 1998 may be rooted in more than one stake the athlete has in teledentistry. Green has a financial investment in the SmileDirectClub (SDC), a global leader in the online dental care industry. He also shares personal stories of how affordable direct-mail dental products helped him fix his teeth and regain his confidence while he was growing up.

SDC markets non-prescription straightening aligners at discounted costs to correct teeth-positioning problems.

On May 21, during a Business and Professions Committee hearing on AB 1998, Low opened up his presentation to the members of the committee with a salvo declaring that teledentistry and telehealth are “telecrap.”

“The reality is that subpar treatment can do real harm, the risk is too high,” Low said.

Green says he is standing up for disadvantaged African-Americans who can’t afford to just drop into a dentist’s office to get x-rays and clearance before they can purchase dental products they need from companies like SDC.