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House Passes Bipartisan Action for Dental Health Act

Reps. Robin Kelly’s and Mike Simpson’s bill encourages early care in underserved communities

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Washington, February 27, 2018 | comments

Last night, the House overwhelmingly passed the bipartisan Action for Dental Health Act (H.R. 2422), co-authored by Congressional Black Caucus Health Braintrust Chair, Congresswoman Robin Kelly (D-IL), and Congressman and dentist Mike Simpson (R-ID). It received 387 yes votes.

This legislation targets crucial federal dollars to organizations that provide oral health care to underserved populations, especially seniors, children and those living in rural and urban communities. Without spending additional dollars, the bill increases oral health care access by strengthening the impact of existing resources.

“Unfortunately, too many Americans lack access to oral health care because of cost or a lack of dentists in their area. This bill starts to change that by making oral health care more accessible,” Congresswoman Kelly said. “In a time of a deeply divided Congress, I’m glad that Congressman Simpson and I could put forward a bipartisan bill that would win the support of hundreds of our colleagues.”

“I am thrilled with the overwhelming bipartisan support for the Action for Dental Health Act,” Rep. Simpson said. “With House passage today, we are advancing a solution to better utilize resources to improve early diagnosis, intervention and preventive treatments which can stop the progress of oral diseases. I would like to thank Congresswoman Kelly for her work on this legislation and I look forward to seeing this advance in the Senate.”

In practice, the legislation will reduce the number of oral health emergency room visits, which are often expensive, not comprehensive and only address dental conditions in late stages. By increasing access to care, issues can be addressed more efficiently and before extensive damage to overall health.

The Action for Dental Health Act has received the endorsement of the American Dental Association, the National Dental Association, the American Dental Education Association and many other organizations. The legislation now advanced to the Senate.

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