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AGD Applauds Congressional Support of SCHIP Reauthorization
Date:10/2/2007

Urges President to Sign the Bill

CHICAGO, Oct. 2 /PRNewswire/ -- The Academy of General Dentistry (AGD) applauded the approval by both congressional chambers of the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) reauthorization bill, which included many beneficial dental provisions. The bill now heads to President Bush for his signature.

"Access to care, especially for children, is one of the AGD's top legislative priorities for this year," stated AGD's President, Vincent Mayher, DMD, MAGD. "The inclusion of guaranteed dental coverage in the final SCHIP bill will ensure that millions of children receive essential oral health care," said Dr. Mayher. Currently, approximately 23 million children are without dental care insurance in the United States.

The bill passed by both chambers includes "coverage of dental services necessary to prevent disease and promote oral health, restore oral structures to health and function, and treat emergency conditions." The bill also contains language on dental education for parents of newborns, inclusion of specific dental requirements in a new set of child health quality measures in Medicaid and SCHIP, and a Government Accountability Office (GAO) study on access to dental services for children in underserved areas. "A guarantee of dental coverage in SCHIP was a top priority for our members," stated Janet Kopenhaver, AGD's Washington Lobbyist. "Our members sent letters and met in person on Capitol Hill with lawmakers to urge them to include this provision in the final bill. It appears that these efforts paid off," Kopenhaver added. Legislators' votes on this bill will be a "scorecard component" when the AGD grades lawmakers serving in the 110th Congress on their commitment to basic oral health care services for all.

Dental care is a basic and necessary health care service for children, and can prevent systemic and oral disease. Early and preventive treatment has a proven track record
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SOURCE The Academy of General Dentistry
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