ADA urges subcommittee to support Ensuring Lasting Smiles Act

Washington — The American Dental Association is asking Congress to pass the Ensuring Lasting Smiles Act — legislation that would require all private group and individual health plans to cover medically necessary services that repair or restore congenital anomalies.

In a Jan. 27 letter to House Committee on Education and Labor’s Health, Employment, Labor and Pensions Subcommittee Chair Frederica S. Wilson, D-Fla., and Ranking Member Tim Walberg, R-Mich., ADA President Chad P. Gehani and Executive Director Kathleen T. O’Loughlin told lawmakers that HR 1379, known as ELSA, would positively impact the quality of life for patients with congenital anomalies and also eliminate the existing burdens that prevent access to necessary diagnosis and treatment. The Association sent the letter ahead of the committee’s Jan. 28 hearing.

“Craniofacial anomalies, for example, can restrict a patient’s ability to breathe, eat and speak in a normal manner,” Drs. Gehani and O’Loughlin said. “Therefore, highly personalized surgery to repair an anomaly helps the patient grow and function normally. Early intervention by a team of specialists, including plastic surgeons, oral and maxillofacial surgeons, pediatric dentists, orthodontists, dermatologists, and speech therapists, is necessary to assess and oversee the patient’s treatment and development, sometimes over the course of several years.”

The ADA also joined forces with 15 other health care organizations urging the legislators to pass the bill, which currently has 275 bipartisan cosponsors in the House.

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