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Press release
November 28, 2018

In Passing the Action for Dental Health Act, Congress Takes a Small Step in Tackling a Big Issue

Washington, D.C. — Earlier today, the House of Representatives passed H.R. 2422, the Action for Dental Health Act, under suspension of the rules. The legislation passed the House overwhelmingly in February 2018 and unanimously passed the Senate with minor amendments in October 2018. In agreeing to the Senate’s amendments, House passage today sends the legislation to President Trump’s desk for his signature. The Action for Dental Health Act allows more organizations to qualify for Health and Human Services (HHS) grants to improve oral health through education and dental disease prevention. The grants will also be used to develop and expand outreach programs establishing dental homes for children and adults, including the elderly, blind and disabled.

Below is a quote from Frederick Isasi, JD, MPH, Executive Director of Families USA:

“Despite what often appears to be constant gridlock on Capitol Hill, Congress sometimes gets it right. Today, Congress approved bipartisan and commonsense legislation to improve dental health for people across our country. I want to particularly congratulate and thank Reps. Robin Kelly (D- IL) and Michael Simpson (R-ID), whose steadfast leadership led to passage today.

“It has been nearly 20 years since U.S. Surgeon General Dr. David Satcher released the report, Oral Health in America. ‘You cannot be healthy without oral health,’ the report stated. But oral health remains an often neglected part of health care. Poor oral health is linked to diabetes, adverse pregnancy outcomes, heart disease, childhood illnesses, and lost school and work hours. Millions of Americans suffer the physical and financial consequences of untreated dental problems, and our health care system pays the price.

“Despite its limited scope, the Action for Dental Health Act represents the most significant legislation on dental health passed during this hyper-partisan Congress. In the twenty years since the Surgeon General’s report, dental coverage has made only incremental progress. There is much more work to be done. We hope that passage of the Action for Dental Health Act will start a more robust conversation about the importance of oral health and put more resources into helping everyone in our country get access to comprehensive, affordable oral health care.”
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