While the U.S. Congress and the President are currently considering what the scope of U.S. health care reform will be, ADEA leadership earlier conveyed the Association's preferences regarding differences in selected provisions of the House and Senate health care reform bills. Letters sent to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) on January 11, 2010, singled out key provisions for support. Also, dental school deans from states and districts represented by the congressional Democratic leadership sent similar letters to express grassroots support.
There are several significant provisions that would advance academic dental institutions and the oral health of Americans, such as:
- Creating a separate funding line in Title VII (Health Professions Programs), distinct from medicine; making dental schools eligible for federal grants currently available only to medical schools; instituting a new faculty loan repayment program; and increasing eligibility for new grant programs for dental and allied dental schools and advanced education programs.
- Clarifying that the time medical and dental residents spend in didactic (scholarly) activities counts for Direct Graduate Medical Education (D-GME) in dental schools.
- Guaranteeing oral health services for children up to age 21, which is included in both bills.
- Establishing a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention national prevention program for dental disease.
- Authorizing a study to determine the need for adult dental coverage as part of an essential health benefits package.