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Advocacy News

Good and Bad in the Comprehensive Dental Reform Act

March 06, 2015 Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) and Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) last week introduced versions of the Comprehensive Dental Reform Act (H.R. 1055).  This legislation, similar to bills the two introduced last Congress, is a mixed bag as far as the ADA is concerned. Among the legislation’s good points are a number of provisions that support the ADA’s efforts to increase access to dental services. The bill would create an adult dental benefit at the federal level in Medicaid, and would make adult dental a mandated benefit under the Affordable Care Act. In addition, the bill would authorize funding for a number of dental care delivery, education and research programs.

On the other hand, the bill would create a benefit for routine dental services in Medicare, which the ADA does not support because that money would be better directed toward expanding and fixing the dental benefits in Medicaid. The bill would also establish demonstration projects training and employing “alternative dental health care providers.”
The ADA has thanked both lawmakers for their continued dedication to improving oral health access.