Vermont U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders and Maryland Congressman Elijah Cummings have introduced Senate and House bills that would expand dental care coverage under Medicare, Medicaid, and the Department of Veterans Affairs for millions of Americans.
The Comprehensive Dental Reform Act of 2012 aims to increase spending to expand oral health providers in under-served communities, boost oral health care literacy, provide affordable dental care, and fund dental research programs.
Even though the U.S. government is in a fiscal crisis, Sander’s legislation proposes to provide and incentive to states to make Medicaid participation more attractive to dentists by boosting the federal government’s contribution by 10%.
Sander’s plan to offset costs is to create a new dental program in Medicare that would provide coverage to all beneficiaries, including those who can pay, along with a 2.5¢ tax on security transactions.
Think about this for a minute folks . . . a “securities transaction tax”? This is means every time you buy a stock, use an ATM machine or cash a check . . . you may be facing a new tax.
Also included in the bill is a oral health professional student loan program for the training and employment of alternative dental healthcare providers. I think this “government-speak” for “non-doctor” providers . . . fill in the blank.
The American Dental Hygienists Association (ADHA) has come out in strong support of the bill along with the American Dental Association (ADA) who has written to Sen. Sanders to express their support for much of the bill. Go . . . Go . . . ADA!
“The ADA is pleased that Senator Sanders’ bill recognizes that the barriers that impede too many Americans from attaining good oral health are numerous, and that addressing only one or a few of them will not appreciably improve what all agree is an unacceptable situation. The ADA has written to Sen. Sanders to express support for much of the bill and to offer suggestions intended to strengthen some provisions, but also to express the Association’s continued opposition to expending precious federal dollars on unproven and, we believe, unnecessary programs to expand the use of so-called mid-level dental providers.”
“We hope that our few areas of disagreement do not obscure our welcoming Sen. Sanders to this fight. His bill aims high, and that has long been needed. We fully support his intent, to help extend good oral health to all Americans, and we applaud his leveraging his influence as a United States senator in pursuit of that goal.”
What are your thoughts on the Comprehensive Dental Reform Act of 2012?
To read more about this bill see: U.S. Lawmakers Propose Sweeping Dental Reforms