Bulletin of Dental Education

ADEA Applauds Passage of Health Care Reform Legislation

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Two years ago, ADEA entered the national debate on reforming the U.S. health care system. The cornerstone of ADEA's position, as approved by the ADEA House of Delegates in March 2009, was that any comprehensive health care reform proposal should provide universal coverage to all Americans and access to high-quality, cost-effective oral health care services.

On March 21, the U.S. House of Representatives approved health care reform legislation (H.R. 3590 and H.R. 4872) that will effect significant change in our health care system. "The legislation extends coverage to nearly all U.S. citizens, includes important provisions related to improving their oral health, addresses key issues of importance to academic dental institutions, and is entirely compatible with the Guiding Principles for Health Care Reform adopted by the ADEA House of Delegates," said Sandra C. Andrieu, Ph.D., ADEA President.

Containing significant provisions for which ADEA has been advocating, the health care reform legislation approved by the House of Representatives will:

  •  Require insurance plans to include pediatric oral health services for children up to 21 years of age 
  •  Require an essential health benefits package to include ambulatory patient services,  emergency services, hospitalization, maternity and newborn care, mental health and substance use disorders, prescription drugs, rehabilitative and habilitative services and devices, laboratory services, prevention and wellness services and chronic disease management, and pediatric services, including oral and vision care 
  •  Expand Medicaid eligibility for adults and children   
  •  Increase federal support to states to pay for expanded Medicaid coverage 
  •  Extend the Children's Health Insurance Program for five years  
  •  Establish an oral health prevention program and fund states to develop oral health leadership   
  •  Enhance oral health data systems   
  •  Improve the delivery of oral health   
  •  Implement dental sealants, water fluoridation, and preventive programs   
  •  Establish a five-year national public education campaign focused on oral health care prevention and education and targeted to certain populations, including children, the elderly, and pregnant women   
  •  Award demonstration grants in consultation with professional oral health organizations to eligible entities to demonstrate the effectiveness of research-based dental caries disease management activities   
  •  Authorize the Medicaid and CHIP Payment and Access Commission (MACPAC) to review payments for dental services in Medicaid and CHIP   
  •  Establish a process for updating payments to dental health professionals   
  •  Reaffirm that dentists will be members of the MACPAC   
  •  Establish a separate dental section and funding line of $30 million for training in general, pediatric, and public health dentistry   
  •  Increase eligibility for new grant programs in the Title VII Health Professions Programs to train dental and allied dental health professionals   
  •  Make dental schools eligible for federal grants for predoctoral training, faculty development, dental faculty loan repayment, and academic administrative units (grants currently available only to medical schools)   
  •  Modify current law to allow hospitals to count dental and medical resident time spent in didactic (scholarly) activities toward Indirect Medical Education (IME)  costs in hospital settings and toward Direct Graduate Medical Education (D-GME) in non-hospital settings (dental school clinics)     
  •  Extend the National Health Service Corps (NHSC) and increase funding for its scholarship and loan repayment program by $2.7 billion over five years    
  •  Reauthorize the Indian Health Service (HIS) and allow for the election by Indian tribes and tribal organizations in a state to employ dental health aide therapists when authorized under state law  
  •  Authorize grants to establish training programs for alternative dental health care providers to increase access to dental health care services in rural, tribal, and underserved communities   
  •  Reauthorize the Centers of Excellence (COE) program (which develops a minority applicant pool to enhance recruitment, training, academic performance and other support for minorities interested in careers in health) and fund it at $50 million   
  •  Increase funding from $37 million to $51 million over five years for Health Professions Training for Diversity, which provides scholarships for disadvantaged students who commit to work in medically underserved areas as primary care providers and expands loan repayments for individuals who will serve as faculty in eligible institutions   
  •  Exempt dental coverage from the premium amounts subject to excise tax on high cost insurance plans 
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