CHICAGO, Illinois--The U.S. Supreme Court's 5-4 ruling on the Affordable Care Act upholds the provisions establishing state health insurance exchanges and minimum benefit packages that
include pediatric oral health care.
This could expand dental coverage to millions of additional children, many of whom have suffered with untreated dental disease. The ADA advocated vigorously for increased children's coverage, including how the "essential dental benefit" for children is defined, in the months leading up to the law's passage and is grateful that it remains intact.
However, the Court's ruling further diminishes the likelihood that tens of millions of low-income adults will gain better access to care. Instead they will continue to face such barriers as poverty, poor health literacy, cultural and language distinctions, geographic location, and lack of access to fluoridated drinking water that prevent them from achieving good oral health. Each of these barriers must be overcome if our communities are to attain an acceptable level of oral health.
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The ADA believes that all Americans deserve good oral health and access to dentists who can help them attain it. The association will continue to advocate at the federal and state levels for laws and regulations that will improve dental coverage for adults and children who lack it.
With the Court's ruling, renewed attention will be given to implementation of the ACA, including the role of dental benefits within the states' programs. The association also will continue its ongoing work with state dental societies to secure the best possible dental benefits for individuals--children and adults--and small businesses through the state-based health insurance exchanges.