ADA asks Congress to pass Ensuring Lasting Smiles Act

Washington — The American Dental Association is asking Congress to pass the Ensuring Lasting Smiles Act — legislation that would require all private group and individual health plans to cover medically necessary services that repair or restore congenital anomalies.

In a Jan. 6 letter to Health Subcommittee Committee on Energy and Commerce Chair Anna G. Eshoo, D-Calif., and Ranking Member Michael C. Burgess, R-Texas, ADA President Chad P. Gehani and Executive Director Kathleen T. O’Loughlin told lawmakers that HR 1379, known as ELSA, would positively impact the quality of life for patients with congenital anomalies and also eliminate the existing burdens that prevent access to necessary diagnosis and treatment. The Association sent the letter ahead of the committee’s Jan. 8 hearing, Legislation to Improve Americans' Health Care Coverage and Outcomes.

“We appreciate your leadership in recognizing the importance of ensuring access to the care and services necessary to improve or restore body function or approximate a normal appearance due to a congenital anomaly, such as cleft lip and palate, skeletal and maxillofacial abnormalities, facial paralysis, microtia, hypodontia, and craniosynostosis,” wrote Drs. Gehani and O’Loughlin.