In 2010, President Barack Obama signed the Health Care Overhaul bill into law in order to improve the way the nation is currently handling the health needs of the nation. WhiteHouse.gov's website proclaims "Health reform makes health care more affordable, holds insurers more accountable, expands coverage to all Americans and makes our health system sustainable," (http://www.whitehouse.gov/healthreform/map). The laws have also improved access to dental care for millions of individuals in need.
Tooth decay and cavities are thought to be a scourge on the nation and while Health Reform did not fully address that issue, there are a number of clauses and provisions aimed at combating the problems at large. Dental industry insiders state that since the changes are plentiful but spread across many platforms, only time will fully reveal the full impact of the changes on the dental care industry. A Q and A session conducted by Medscape Medical News with presenter Jack Bresch, MALS, and the associate executive director of the ADEA,, provided that insight was provided during the American Dental Education Association (ADEA) meeting in early 2011 and further detail (http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/739090).
Children's Dental Care to Improve
Prior to health care reform, insurers did not need to extend a parent's or caregiver's dental insurance plan to those over 18 years of age. Not only does the law reverses that policy, but also requires basic care and essential dental treatments to provide dental health benefits for children up to the age of 21.
Financial grants supporting dental sealant programs have also been authorized. Dental sealants are a preventative dental care tooth coating that has been scientifically proven to reduce levels of tooth decay in both children and adults. As dental sealant programs expand, it is expected that national levels of tooth decay will decline.
Additionally, the policy created a new Medicaid and Children's Health Insurance Program department. That team is charged with the task of reviewing the Medicaid reimbursement structure for participating dentists. The national average of Medicaid reimbursement for retail fees is 60.5 percent and the states with the highest levels of compensation are doing better at providing dental care to needy children (http://www.pewcenteronthestates.org/news_room_detail.aspx?id=85899360123). Once the data is gathered, additional dental care reforms are expected.