Federal Budget Boosts Dental Care



On December 18, President Obama approved a federal budget that significantly increases funding for dental research, education, and related matters while changing the tax code to benefit dentists, employers, and healthcare consumers.

The Division of Oral Health at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will see funding increased by $2 million to $18 million for the 2016 fiscal year. The division helps states improve oral health programs, encourage the use of fluoride products and community water fluoridation, and promote school-based and linked dental-sealant programs.

Also, the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR) will get nearly $415.6 in funding for 2016, which is a more than $17 million increase. Language accompanying the budget’s bill cites a decline in caries rates for most Americans but notes disparities among some populations before encouraging more NIDCR caries research.

The Health Resources and Services Administration will get nearly $35.9 million for oral health training programs, with $10 million set aside for general dentistry residencies (a $1 million increase) and $10 million for pediatric dental residencies (a $1 million increase). Research has shown that these residencies increase access to oral health services for underserved and vulnerable populations.

Maternal and Child Health—Special Projects of Regional and National Significance will get $5 million for oral health research. The Health Career Opportunity Program’s annual budget will continue at $14.2 million. Additionally, Area Health Education Centers will see continued funding at $30.3 million.

Funding for Ryan White AIDS Dental Services will continue at fiscal year 2015’s level of more than $13.1 million. Military dental research will continue at $6 million. And, the dental account for the Indian Health Service will be increased by more than $4.3 million to reach nearly $178.3 million for 2016.

The budget also permanently extends Section 179 expensing, which allows for deductions of new equipment and property up to $500,000, with the deduction phased out for investments exceeding $2 million. The 2.3% excise tax on medical devices and the “Cadillac tax” have been delayed for 2 years as well.

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