National Legislation and Legislation in Other States

Congress


Anti-Vaping Efforts Continue in the House

The U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 2339, the Protecting American Lungs and Reversing the Youth Tobacco Epidemic Act of 2020 on Feb. 28. This comprehensive bill is designed to address the youth tobacco epidemic and bans the majority of flavored tobacco and vaping products, including mint and menthol, and imposes a tax on the nicotine in e-cigarettes. It also calls for the Food and Drug Administration to regulate vaping devices and liquids in the same manner the agency regulates cigarettes and other tobacco products.

Ahead of the vote, the ADA sent House leadership a letter thanking the leaders for bringing the bill forward for a vote by the House of Representatives. The bill also bans e-cigarette ads targeting youth and extends the federal tobacco advertising and sales requirements to other types of nicotine products. It also requires the FDA to finalize regulations governing graphic health warnings for cigarette packages (including an oral cancer image).

Why is this important? Recent injuries and deaths due to vaping have raised awareness of the dangers of this practice.

[Contact: Natalie Hales 202-898-2404 or halesn@ada.org or Robert J. Burns 202-789-5176 or burnsr@ada.org]

Medical Debt Collections Bill

The Consumer Protection for Medical Debt Collections Act (H.R. 5330) was introduced by Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich) in the House and S. 1581 was introduced by Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR). The House bill is under review in the House Committee on Financial Services and the Senate bill was referred to the Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs. The legislation hopes to amend the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act to provide a timetable for verification of medical debt and to increase the efficiency of credit markets with more information and prohibit consumer reporting agencies from issuing consumer reports containing information about debts related to medically necessary procedure, about and for other purposes.

Why is this important? While the report language is still not available, the ADA is checking with the committee on the intent of the bill. There are several places where oral surgeons (and potentially dentists) might be included in this language based on the definition of medical necessity.

[Contact: Chris Tampio 202-789-5178 or tampioc@ada.org]

ADA Comments on Surprise Billing

The ADA sent a letter to the House Committee on Ways and Means on H.R. 5826, the Consumer Protections Against Surprise Medical Bills Act of 2020. The ADA asked the Committee to clarify the definition of a “health care facility” mentioned in recent legislation to address surprise billing situations focused on emergency services and elective surgeries where consumers believe they are being treated in an “in network setting” and instead received unexpected bills after the procedure. Clarification of the definition of health care facility is necessary so it does not interfere with non-emergency services like routine dental exams. The ADA also sent a letter to the House Education and Labor Committee asking for clarification.

Why is this important? Congress needs to understand that dental benefit plans and services are different than the emergency services and elective surgeries targeted by surprise billing legislation.

[Contact: Megan Mortimer 202-898-2402 or mortimerm@ada.org or Chris Tampio 202-789-5178 or tampioc@ada.org]

Public Health Modernization Act Passes Senate

The ADA joined the American Indian/Alaska Natives Health Partners coalition in supporting S. 2629, the United States Public Health Service Modernization Act led by Sen. Mike Rounds (R-SD). This legislation would create a Ready Reserve Corps within the United States Public Health Service Commissioned Corps, which will allow duty stations needing staff to backfill positions created when Regular Corps service members respond to emergencies. On January 9, 2020, the measure passed the Senate by voice vote and has been referred to the House Energy and Commerce Committee for further action.

Why is this important? Creating a Ready Reserve Corps will help ensure that, during an emergency, patient healthcare needs are not unmet or are compromised.

[Contact: Jennifer Fisher 202-789-5160 or fisherj@ada.org]


Congress Advocates for Oral Health this Month

In honor of National Children’s Dental Health Month celebrated in February, several legislators, including our member dentists, helped put the spotlight on oral health on Capitol Hill this month. Reps. Mike Simpson, R-Idaho, Paul Gosar, R-Ariz. and Jeff Van Drew, D-N.J., issued tributes on the House floor in official statements for the record on the importance of oral health and the dedicated efforts honored by National Children’s Dental Health Month. On behalf of the Congressional Oral Health Caucus, Rep. Simpson expressed the group’s full endorsement for the public awareness in February and expressed the need for continued care for good oral health of children.

Why is this important? Congressional recognition of Children’s Dental Health Month helps elevate this celebration and educates other Members of Congress about the importance of children’s oral health month.

[Contact: Jennifer Fisher 202-789-5160 or fisherj@ada.org]


A bill moving in West Virginia would require dental carriers to honor patients’ assignment of benefit requests.  The bill was amended to include a notification to patients that non-participating dentists may balance bill.   

An Arizona bill seeks to study a number of dental plan issues.  In its current version, it would establish a group of stakeholders to: 1) review current and future insurer interactive portal systems for checking patients’ coverage and claim statuses; 2) assess the handling of retroactive denials; and, 3) analyze the practice of predeterminations/prior authorization requests and review opportunities for efficiencies and proper payment under these carrier limitations.    

[Contact: Paul O'Connor at 312-440-2873 or oconnorp@ada.org]
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