On February 27, 2018, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the bipartisan Action for Dental Health Act (H.R.2422). Co-authored by the chair of the Congressional Black Caucus Health Braintrust, Congresswoman Robin Kelly (D-IL), and Mike Simpson (R-ID), a dentist, the bill received overwhelming support from both parties, and passed with 387 yes votes.
The bill’s next stop is the Senate, where it is currently being sponsored by Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ); Mazie K. Hirono (D-HI); Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-LA); and Tim Scott (R-SC). The bill aims to reauthorize initiatives that increase access to oral health care for people in underserved communities around the United States.
Dr. Gary Lederman is a dentist practicing in Bellmore, New York. He believes the reauthorization of the bill will be beneficial to his patients and patients in the greater New York area.
"According to the New York City Health Department, currently more than one in three New York City third-graders has untreated tooth decay. That’s a huge problem, and something we need to do better to correct," says Lederman.
If passed, the bill will help increase funding to treat oral health problems like tooth decay, but also increase access to preventative care to stop problems like tooth decay before they happen.
"Right now, many patients are treating oral health problems in the emergency room. The goal of this bill should be to care for the teeth properly and on a regular basis, so there’s no need for emergency care," says Lederman.
The Action for Dental Health Act is also endorsed by the American Dental Association, the National Dental Association, the American Dental Education Association and many more health organizations.