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house Bill H.R. 539

Using Grants to Provide Dental Care for Under-served Populations

Argument in favor

Unlike some federal grants that have vague purposes and rarely benefit average people, these grants would use existing funding to provide free dental services to under-served populations like the elderly and those who can’t afford to see a dentist.

Javonna's Opinion
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09/08/2015
It wouldn't be health care without dental. You need both!
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Jennifer's Opinion
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12/15/2015
Absolutely, I've had four root canals. They are no joke pain wise or money wise.
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Marvin's Opinion
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09/09/2015
The underpriviledged forgot medical, dental and eye care because they cannot afford it. We shouldn't need grants. We need to expand the Affordable Care Act to include all things health-wise.
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Argument opposed

The federal government shouldn’t be involved in financing or organizing free dental services. If state and local entities are willing to provide these services when federal dollars are involved, surely they’d be willing to find funding on their own.

Mart's Opinion
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09/02/2015
National government needs to stay out of these issues, aka Obamacare
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Bill's Opinion
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10/12/2015
There are no "existing funds", congress takes from your retirement ect. Until you balance the budget and have funds still available funds, there is no extra money. Quit using that phrase.
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Jeff's Opinion
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09/28/2015
Instead of providing more free services, the best help we can give un
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What is House Bill H.R. 539?

This bill would direct the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) to award grants to, or contract with entities that would obtain portable or mobile dental equipment, or that cover the operational costs of free dental services to underserved populations.


Eligible entities would include a state or local dental association, a state oral health program, an education program that provides dental or dental hygiene training, or postdoctoral dental education, and a community-based organization that partners with an academic institution. These entities must be tax-exempt, and offer free dental services to under-served populations.

The Secretary could also provide grants for state, county or local public officials to improve oral health education, dental disease prevention, and make the dental health care delivery system more efficient.

Impact

People in under-served populations that need dental care, providers of dental care, state and local agencies, HHS, the Secretary of HHS.

Cost of House Bill H.R. 539

A CBO cost estimate is unavailable.

More Information

In-Depth: This bill represents a bipartisan collaboration between sponsor Rep. Robin Kelly (D-IL) and lead cosponsor Rep. Mike Simpson (R-ID), which now has the support of 50 cosponsors -- comprising 39 Democrats and 11 Republicans.

Rep. Kelly stated that this legislation:

“Helps to create healthier communities by breaking down barriers to oral healthcare and will ultimately help reduce unnecessary healthcare costs by minimizing and eliminating dental diseases in their early stages.”

A similar version of this bill was introduced in April 2014, but it stalled in committee and did not receive a vote before the full House of Representatives before the 113th Congress concluded.


Of Note: According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), there are noticeable disparities in oral health that adversely affect certain racial and ethnic groups -- and are manifested in tooth decay, cavities, and oral cancer.

The CDC’s data from 2013 also shows that as people age, they are less likely to see a dentist each year. While 83 percent of children between the ages of two and 17 had seen a dentist in the past year, that number falls to 61.7 percent for adults between 18 and 64, and 60.6 percent for those who are 65 or older.


Media:

Summary by Eric Revell
(Photo Credit: Flickr user US Army Africa)

AKA

Action for Dental Health Act of 2015

Official Title

To amend part B of title III of the Public Health Service Act to improve essential oral health care for lower income individuals by breaking down barriers to care, and for other purposes.

bill Progress


  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The senate has not voted
  • The house has not voted
      house Committees
      Committee on Energy and Commerce
      Health
    IntroducedJanuary 27th, 2015
    It wouldn't be health care without dental. You need both!
    Like (6)
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    National government needs to stay out of these issues, aka Obamacare
    Like (4)
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    Absolutely, I've had four root canals. They are no joke pain wise or money wise.
    Like (3)
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    The underpriviledged forgot medical, dental and eye care because they cannot afford it. We shouldn't need grants. We need to expand the Affordable Care Act to include all things health-wise.
    Like (3)
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    Not the responsibility of the government
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    There are no "existing funds", congress takes from your retirement ect. Until you balance the budget and have funds still available funds, there is no extra money. Quit using that phrase.
    Like (2)
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    Dental care is not a luxury and is just essential as any other healthcare program. By the way the ACA is the best thing to happen to this country since social security.
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    We live in a country that even those with dental insurance, typically capped at $1500/yr, can't afford care. It's an area of healthcare, along with mental health that needs more funding.
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    Instead of providing more free services, the best help we can give un
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    Bill has no estimated cost. ????? besides, this should be a state effort.
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    This would be a lot easier with universal health care, but in the meantime, there isn't a real reason to not provide healthcare to those who need it.
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    States, especially those run by republicans, either can't or won't provide these services.
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    This should be handled at the state level where they have volunteers of dentists and doctors traveling through the state helping these people.
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    People need the help and dentist rates for dental care are astronomical at the present.
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    Dental health is an actual health issue, linked with heart health. Let's actually treat it like a health issue?
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    Someday, but not today. Not now. Right now, we've got bigger fish to fry.
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    Yes
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    People in the states need dental health too.
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    This yet another attempt by the Obama administration to cater to illegal immigrants by extending them undeserved benefits and perpetuating the attractiveness of violating U.S. Border laws. Ridiculous. Why don't we just send teams there to help them pack their things and fly them into the country? What is our population goal? It is presently in excess of 320 million. Will one billion be enough? TWO billion? We can't let China and India outdo us population wise. After all, we're number one.
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    NO NO NO. We are 18 TRILLION IN DEBT. STOP SPENDING!!! Local and State government should be responsible for this if their citizens want to institute it and fund it. Isn't Obamacare supposed to handle all the medical/dental needs of the poor along with Medicare/ Medicaid for free?
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