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ADA: Ask your senators to reauthorize CHIP

November 28, 2017

By Jennifer Garvin

Washington — The ADA is urging dentists reach out to their senators, asking them to reauthorize the Children's Health Insurance Program.

Earlier this month, the House voted to reauthorize the federal program, which annually serves 8.9 million children as well as 370,000 pregnant women. The Senate has yet to schedule a full vote for its own CHIP reauthorization bill. Federal funding for CHIP expired on Sept. 30 and some states have started notifying families that CHIP-covered services may not be covered in 2018 unless Congress votes to reauthorize the program.

"It's been 61 days since Congress allowed the Children's Health Insurance Program to expire, potentially impacting over 9 million children's access to oral health care," the ADA wrote in a Nov. 28 action alert to members.

"Can we count on you to reach out to your senator and urge them to pass a CHIP reauthorization bill now?"  

The ADA noted that Thursday, Nov. 30, has been designated as a day of action regarding CHIP funding, and urged dentists to "take action" on that day to highlight the "positive oral health benefits of the CHIP program for our nation's underserved children."

The action alert contained talking points for dentists to use when contacting their senators that included tooth decay being the most common chronic condition among children and adolescents and how child's oral health problems can continue into adulthood, potentially impacting employability, military readiness  and overall health status. It also stressed that untreated dental disease is a "significant economic impact" on the country's health care system, citing the 2014 statistic that emergency room visits for a dental conditions cost about $863 a visit compared to $240 for the average dental office visit. Visit ADA Engage and subscribe to ADA Action Alerts to be informed on critical public policy issues and to get connected with your legislators.

Maintained by the American Dental Political Action Committee, ADA Engage allows dentists to be heard and advocate in Washington.

For more information, visit