Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said the Senate's tax bill will include a provision repealing the Affordable Care Act's mandate that all Americans enroll in a health plan or pay a tax penalty. A Congressional Budget Office analysis found that repealing the individual mandate would save $338 billion over a decade, but it would also push average premiums up by about 10% and increase the number of uninsured by 13 million over the same period.
Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., said he could not support a version of the Republicans' tax bill that makes tax cuts for corporations permanent but allows individual tax cuts to expire. Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, said she does not support the bill's repeal of the Affordable Care Act's individual mandate.
The percentage of 19- to 64-year-olds getting dental care regularly has remained flat for several years despite wider access to insurance and fewer adults citing cost as a barrier, according to the American Dental Association's Health Policy Institute. Quality of coverage and convenience of care could be factors, says Marko Vujicic, the institute's chief economist.
A relatively new device uses a laser to cut through tooth enamel for filling cavities, and the vibrations from the laser numb the tooth, negating the need for anesthetic injections. Dentists say the device is cost-effective, and the four dental practices in the Oklahoma City area that offer the technology do not charge more than for conventional cavity treatment.
The Florida House and Senate are considering bills to offer dentists up to $50,000 a year to repay student loans in exchange for practicing in a public health program that serves Medicaid beneficiaries and low-income patients in areas of the state that are considered underserved. "This legislation will promote attainable dental care, job growth and economic development in underserved areas of Florida, particularly our state's rural communities," said state Rep. Colleen Burton, who is sponsoring the House bill.
The Texas A&M College of Dentistry is building a new clinic and educational facility in Dallas where dental students will learn while providing care for local residents. "It's kind of less of a dental school environment and more of a private practice environment," said Stephen Griffin, assistant dean of clinical affairs at the dental school and project lead for the facility.
Systolic pressure was nearly 13 points lower and diastolic pressure was nearly 10 points lower in prehypertensive Chinese adults who also had moderate to severe periodontitis six months after they received intensive treatment for the gum disease, compared with the cohort who received standard care. The findings, presented at the American Heart Association's annual meeting, show that "intensive periodontal intervention alone can reduce blood pressure levels, inhibit inflammation and improve endothelial function," lead author Jun Tao said.
SmileDirectClub, which offers direct-to-consumer teeth alignment trays, sued orthodontists and threatened dentists with lawsuits for posting critical videos online that SmileDirectClub says are "false, disparaging and misleading." Orthodontists say the company puts patients and risk, and complaints filed in 36 states by the American Association of Orthodontists allege that the company breaks laws governing the practice of dentistry.
Network regulation has been the primary area of legislative activity relating to dental benefits for more than a year. Starting with the revision of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) Model on Networks and spurred by medical plan narrow network issues, new legislative and regulatory issues dotted the US in 2017. Join NADP on Dec. 19 at 1 p.m. CST for the webinar, 2017 Legislative and Regulatory Trends Impacting Provider Networks. To register, visit the NADP Knowledge Center.
Save the Date: CONVERGE 2018
Join NADP and your colleagues in the dental benefits industry for CONVERGE 2018, Sept. 24-27 at the Hyatt Regency at the Colorado Convention Center in Denver, Colo. CONVERGE is the premier professional development opportunity in the dental benefits industry. Online registration opens in spring 2018.