Oral Health America Queries Senate on Price’s Confirmation

Dentistry Today


As the US Senate Finance Committee schedules its vote on Representative Tom Price, MD, of Georgia’s Sixth District to head the Department of Health and Human Services for Tuesday, January 31, Oral Health America (OHA) has sent questions about his candidacy and his positions on oral health to the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions

“It has been nearly 17 years since US Surgeon General David Satcher, MD, PhD, published the first-ever Surgeon General’s Report on Oral Health that declared dental and oral diseases a ‘silent epidemic’ in America,” wrote Beth Truett, president and CEO of OHA in the organization’s query.

Price is an orthopedic surgeon with more than 20 years of experience treating patients in the Atlanta area. Also, he is chair of the Committee on the Budget in the House of Representatives and serves on the House Ways and Means Committee, including the Subcommittee on Health. OHA’s questions covered Price’s position on Medicare, the Affordable Care Act (ACA), the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), and community water fluoridation, such as the following: 

  • What steps is Price willing to take to ensure all Americans, young and old, poor or rich, educated or noneducated, receive dental insurance to cover dental services such as exams, cleanings, fillings, and extractions?
  • Does Price agree with President Trump’s statements, and what is his vision for the future of Medicare? Specifically, what changes does Price believe are needed in Medicare, and does his vision include the addition or an oral health benefit to improve the overall health of seniors?
  • As a proponent of the ACA’s repeal and replacement, what will Price do, if confirmed, to ensure Americans do not face periods of time without coverage or lose previously held benefits, for example, though the essential health benefit of dental coverage for 8 million children or through Medicaid expansion, as a result of legislation that would replace the ACA?
  • What is Price’s position on the fiscal year 2018 and future budgets via their impact on the ability to extend funding for CHIP, a bipartisan-supported program that provides 8 million children and 370,000 pregnant women with affordable, age-appropriate health coverage including a guaranteed dental benefit?
  • What is Price’s position on community water fluoridation? Does he endorse community water fluoridation as an effective public health strategy as previous Surgeon Generals in the United States have done publicly?

“Broadly, OHA is curious to learn how Secretary-designate Dr. Price plans to utilize the resources at the Department of Health and Human Services to educate the public about the importance of oral health, especially to one’s overall health and well-being,” said Truett.

Meanwhile, the ADA endorses Price’s nomination, citing his good relationship with dentists while he was a member of the Georgia State Legislature and his deep understanding of dental issues. The ADA also noted that he has worked with organized dentistry on important issues affecting the profession and its patients during his tenure in Congress.

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