02 Jan Action for Dental Health Act
Television news is really good at talking doom and gloom, especially when it comes to politics. Right now, if I turned on any news station, I know it would only be seconds before I heard a story discussing a federal government shutdown in 2018. It’s a scary topic and could put hardship on a lot of citizens if it happens.The news is quick to tell us that “this side won’t budge in negotiations” or “that side is to stubborn to strike a deal.” All this government bickering and indecision begs me to ask the question “do our politicians do anything productive?” A quick Google search and I found a rather refreshing answer.
On December 11, 2018 H.R. 2422, Action for Dental Health Act became law. This bill, which was introduced by Reps. Mike Simpson, R-Idaho, and Robin Kelly, D-Ill will provide roughly $32 million in grants over the next four fiscal years to organizations that provide dental care to less fortunate members of the population.
One of the key proponents of this bill is to provide oral health education to underserved areas around the country. Each fiscal year, through the years 2018 to 2022, $18 million will be authorized for this specific purpose. The hope is that increased oral healthcare education and awareness will reduce the visits to the emergency room for oral health problems. A portion of the $18 million will be designated to help those that do have oral and dental emergencies find information on and select dental care providers that the can visit regularly. Additionally, oral health education and awareness will help in disease prevention.
H.R. 2422, which passed in the house with a resounding 387-13, designates nearly $14 million as grants to states that will be administered by the HRSA. These grants will provide dental care to underserved portions of the community specifically those with barriers (geographical, language, culture) and the elderly in nursing homes.
The bill, which was introduced in May of 2017, seeks to lower the federal government’s long term spending on dental care. Currently, the United States government spends $113 billion on dental care related costs. The idea is that if you can provide service, education, and awareness to those that desperately need it, you can reduce long term costs. Prevention is less expensive than dealing with perpetual dental disease and dental emergencies. H.R. 2422 could have a beneficial impact on the federal government’s bottom line, but Congresswoman Robin Kelly, the bill’s sponsor thinks it’ll do more than just that “this bipartisan bill means that more families will have access to oral and dental healthcare. This increased access to care means that patients will receive early detection and intervention resulting in better outcomes, reduced costs and improved health,” Improved health for those underserved portions of our population, seems like our politicians can be productive.