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ADA urges committee to support Ensuring Lasting Smiles Act

ADA urges committee to support Ensuring Lasting Smiles Act


September 2020, Garvin, Jennifer, ADA News

Summarized by: Elise Zlotnikova

The Ensuring Lasting Smiles Act (ELSA) is a bipartisan bill that would require private insurance plans to cover medically necessary services, including dental procedures, resulting from congenital anomalies. Craniofacial anomalies are extremely relevant in dentistry. Cleft lip and palate, hypodontia, and enamel hypoplasia are just a few examples of congenital anomalies that require dental treatment. Craniofacial anomalies can interfere with proper functioning in every aspect of children’s daily lives, including eating, sleeping, and breathing. Insurance companies consider some medical and dental procedures for congenital anomalies as cosmetic. In reality, these procedures are necessary to restore proper function. ELSA would ensure reconstructive surgeries and dental procedures are covered as medically necessary services. Some insurances cover the initial reconstructive surgeries, but delay or deny additional procedures they deem cosmetic. This can have devastating impacts on children by prolonging the patients’ health issues and delaying their developmental progress. There are no formal opposition statements to ELSA, but those not in favor do not support federal legislation imposing restrictions on healthcare. On September 8, 2020, the ADA published a letter to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce to strongly support the Ensuring Lasting Smiles Act. In response, the committee favorably reported the legislature and the bill will now head to the House of Representatives. The passage of ELSA would greatly benefit patients with craniofacial anomalies and ensure that they have access to necessary treatment. The ADA’s support of ELSA demonstrates how national advocacy is necessary to effect changes in healthcare legislation. Other national organizations have also advocated for ELSA, including the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.

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