ADA lobbies Congress’ coronavirus legislative package

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Image courtesy of CDC/Alissa Eckert, Dan Higgins.

Washington — As Congress works on legislation in response to the coronavirus disease outbreak, the ADA is working to ensure that those bills include provisions that are beneficial to dentists — particularly dental practice owners — and their patients.

In a March 17 Issues Alert, the ADA told dentists that Congress is currently considering a legislative package — HR 6201, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act. That bill, which was developed between Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Treasury Sec. Steven Mnuchin, focuses on short-term issues such as child and elderly nutrition programs, COVID-19 testing, unemployment benefits, and family medical and sick leave.

The bill is currently headed to the Senate floor for a vote after the House adopted technical corrections on March 16 that were needed to move the bill forward. These corrections, which the ADA is still evaluating, are “important because the provisions regarding family medical leave/sick leave could create an economic hardship for dentist owners and other small businesses,” according to the alert.

The alert went on to say the ADA is concerned about the bill’s paid leave provision “because while it could be beneficial to employees, it could also cause a financial burden for many small businesses in America.” In response, the ADA, along with more than 80 organizations, asked Congress to reconsider the provision in a March 16 joint letter to Congress.

The Association also shared that the ADA has learned that Congress is working on an additional legislative package related to COVID-19. The package is expected to provide at least $750 billion to alleviate the economic crisis facing millions of Americans and contains provisions to increase federal funding to provide immediate help to small businesses.

“The ADA will be working to ensure that those provisions will benefit our dentist owners,” the alert concluded.

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