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At Issue

Throughout the health care reform debate, the ADA has sought to keep lawmakers aware of the need to fix Medicaid by improving its dental programs. An up-to-date summary of ADA's advocacy activities is available on the health care reform activity page.

The ADA has not wavered from its commitment to increase the pool of dentists who participate in Medicaid or its support of dentists who deliver services to underserved patients. The ADA has lobbied for fair reimbursement—which typically falls well below actual costs—and continues to work to reduce administrative barriers that often deter dentists from accepting Medicaid patients. Our aim is to ensure that more Americans get quality oral health services.

Medicaid is an important safety net. Currently, this program serves more than 50 million Americans, including vulnerable populations such as children, pregnant women, the disabled and the elderly. The advocacy by the ADA and by state dental associations has had significant results. The Michigan Dental Association, for example, through its Healthy Kids Dental (HKD) program, increased dentists' participation in one year from less than 25% (in 2000) to more than 80% (in 2001). Currently, about 80% of general dentist participate in HKD. In addition to enhancing the oral health of children on Medicaid the program has cut in half the time it takes a Medicaid recipient to travel to a participating dentist's office and has significantly increased the number of children with a dental home.

ADA Priorities

  • Mend the tattered Medicaid safety net by improving its dental program.
  • The ADA urges the Congress to maintain the federal requirement for dental services under EPSDT and extend medically necessary services to Medicaid-eligible adults.
  • The ADA urges the Congress to preserve the federal financing role in the Medicaid program and update the federal matching formula to address economic changes.
  • The ADA believes preventive dental services should be exempt from cost-sharing requirements.

Letters and Testimony

  • July 22, 2010—Medicaid Sign-on Letter sent by 135 organizations to extend FMAP funding provided under ARRA (PDF/1.2MB)
  • October 7, 2009—Joint Statement to the House on Medicaid's Efforts to Reform (PDF/1.74 MB)
  • September 21, 2009—Letter to Senate Finance Committee (PDF)
  • July 6, 2009—Joint Letter to CMS on Insure Kids Now (PDF)
  • September 23, 2008—Testimony by Dr. Jane S. Grover to House hearing on Medicaid (PDF/1.84 MB)
  • February 14, 2008—Statement submitted by the ADA to the House Oversight and Government Reform Subcommittee on Domestic Policy (PDF)
  • Testimony by ADA President-elect Mark Feldman with Rep. Albert Wynn (D-Md.) announcing the introduction of “Essential Oral Health Care Act” (PDF)
  • May 16, 2005—Letter to HHS Secretary Michael Leavitt nominating Dr. Jane Grover to serve on the Medicaid Commission (PDF)
  • May 10, 2005—Letter to HHS Secretary Michael Leavitt supporting the establishment of and urging dental representation on the Medicaid Commission (PDF)
  • May 5, 2005—Letter to Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) supporting a bill to permit local public agencies to act as Medicaid enrollment brokers (H.R. 306) (PDF)

Additional Resources

Contact Us

For additional information, please contact:

  • Janice Kupiec, Manager, Legislative & Regulatory Policy, Federal Affairs
  • Paul O'Connor, Legislative Liaison, State Government Affairs

Federal Affairs
1111 14th Street NW, Suite 1100
Washington, DC 20005
Fax: 202.898.2437
Email: govtpol@ada.org 
  State Government Affairs
ADA Chicago Headquarters
211 East Chicago Avenue
Chicago, IL 60611
Fax: 312.440.3539
Email: govtpol@ada.org