On February 26, the Senate began floor debate on the Comprehensive Veterans Health and Benefits and Military Pay Restoration Act of 2014 (S.1982), which includes a number of provisions impacting academic dentistry.
Namely, Title III of Subtitle E (Dental Care Eligibility Expansion and Enhancement) in the bill provides:
- The Secretary of Veterans Affairs may furnish restorative “dental services and treatment, and dental appliances” to veterans
- Authorizes a three-year pilot program expanding dental care to all enrolled veterans at 16 sites nationwide.
- The Secretary is directed to carry out a dental health educational program informing veterans on options for accessing dental care, including obtaining low or no-cost dental care through dental schools or Federally Qualified Heath Clinics (FQHC).
- The proposed legislation authorizes $305 million in FY15, to be available for 5 years, to carry out these provisions.
Additionally, Title II of the bill deals with Education Matters:
- It requires that, beginning on July 1, 2015, public institutions of higher education must charge veterans in-state tuition and fees regardless of the veteran’s state of residence.
- In addition, it extends and expands the work-study program through June 30, 2015.
The ADEA Advocacy and Governmental Relations team will continue to monitor progress on this proposed legislation and its impact on academic dentistry.