Press Releases

Simpson and Kelly Introduce Dental Health Bill

Legislation Encourages Early Care, Reduces Costs to Health Care System and Provides Individuals with Opportunity to Trade Dental Services for Community Service

Washington, January 29, 2015

Idaho Congressman Mike Simpson, alongside Congresswoman Robin Kelly (IL-02), has co-introduced H.R. 539, the ‘Action for Dental Health Act of 2015.’ This legislation will target relatively modest but crucial federal dollars to organizations to provide proven oral health care services in a manner that effectively addresses the barriers to dental care that people often face. Without spending any additional dollars, the bill would have a significant impact on communities that are underserved.

“Early diagnosis, intervention and preventive treatments can stop the progress of most oral diseases,” said Simpson. “Not only do individuals often suffer from severe pain, but it also adds unnecessary costs to the health care delivery system, costs that could have been minimized or eliminated had the disease been caught in its early stages.” 

“Regular visits to the dentist do more than keep your smile attractive – they can tell a lot about your overall health, including whether or not you may be developing a disease like diabetes or if you’re at risk for a stroke,” said Kelly. “Our bill helps to create healthier communities by breaking down barriers to oral healthcare and will ultimately help reduce unnecessary healthcare costs by minimizing and eliminating dental diseases in their early stages.” 

H.R. 539 redirects existing federal dollars to initiatives that have a real impact on dental access disparities. It includes programs that reduce the number of people who visit emergency rooms by diverting them to private dental practices, where in some cases they can repay the cost of their care with community service activates, expansion of care in nursing homes and for the elderly, support of charitable organizations, improving collaboration with health professionals, and several other provisions.  

The bill has been referred to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce.