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WLC issue review focuses on three bills

April 28, 2015

By Craig Palmer

Washington –ADA Council on Government Affairs members described three ADA-backed bills pending in Congress as key legislative measures for dental leaders to lobby on Capitol Hill during the April 27-29 Washington Leadership Conference.

Dentist attendees and ADA staff cited other legislation important for the dental profession and patients but the WLC opening day issue review focused attention on three bills awaiting congressional action.

Dr. Barry Howell described H.R. 539, the Action for Dental Health Act:
  • Establishes two Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) grants but requests no additional funding.
  • One grant supports volunteer dental projects (including Give Kids A Smile and Missions of Mercy).
  • The second grant supports Action for Dental Health initiatives intended to reduce emergency room visits, expand access to nursing home residents and ensure access to community fluoridated water.

Dr. Irving Lebovics described H.R. 649, the Student Loan Refinancing Act:
  • Allow borrowers, under the federal student loan program, to refinance their existing loans multiple times.
  • Bill would assist new dentists in reducing their overall debt, thereby opening opportunities to practice in areas of need.

Dr. Gus Vlahos described H.R. 1185, RAISE Health Benefits Act:
  • Allows families to carry over all unused Health Flexible Spending Arrangement (FSA) funds from year to year.
  • Raises the savings cap from $2,500 to $5,000 per year.
  • Allows for an additional $500 to be added to the cap for each dependent beyond two.

More than 500 dentists, state dental association staff and other dental leaders registered from all 50 states for the annual springtime WLC.