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U.S. Senator proposes national dental plan

Jun 12, 2012

The controversial Affordable Care Act, the landmark national care health care bill passed by Democrats in a single-party vote in March, 2010 and whose constitutionality is being ruled on by the U.S. Supreme Court this month, is no longer the newest piece of health insurance legislation being bandied about Washington, D.C.  

On June 7 Bernie Sanders, (I-Vt) and Elijah Cummings (D-Md), proposed legislation that would add a new $25 billion dental plan to the nation’s health care stew by having the federal government provide dental insurance for millions of Americans. Senate bill S. 3272 would levy a financial transactions tax on equity trades by taxing $2.50 for every $10,000 traded in stocks and bonds. The proposed tax would reportedly raise $290 billion over 10 years.   

 Under this new arrangement the government would:

1) Provide comprehensive dental coverage to all Medicare, Medicaid and Veterans Affairs beneficiaries

2) Increase funding across various agencies to enhance oral health services at health centers

3) Add funds for dental care schools

4) Provide grant money for people to access dental care in clinics rather than emergency rooms;

5) Spend money to boost the number of dentists

6) Create scholarships for dental workers

7) Finance an oral health professional student loan program

"When we talk about the health care crisis in America we often ignore a very important aspect of that crisis; that tens of millions of Americans are unable to access affordable dental care and they suffer as a result of that," Sanders said. "Today, by introducing what we believe is the most comprehensive dental care legislation in American history, we start addressing that issue."

The American Dental Association (ADA) asked for clarification of some provisions, offered recommendations on others but said it could not support the bill's mid-level provider proposals and certain other provisions. 

"We hope that our few areas of disagreement do not obscure our welcoming Sen. Sanders to this fight.  His bill aims high, and that has long been needed," said Dr. William R. Calnon, ADA president. 

Sources:  Orlando Liberal Examiner, The Hill, American Dental Association, Kaiser Health News, Supreme

Copyright 2012, Bloom Insurance Agency, LLC
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