On Wednesday, September 9th, the Ensuring Lasting Smiles Act (ELSA) passed in the U.S House of Representatives Energy and Commerce Committee by voice vote.
ELSA would ensure that all group and individual health plans cover medically necessary services, including needed dental procedures, as a result of congenital abnormalities. It would also stipulate that such coverage include services and procedures that functionally repair or restore any missing or abnormal body part that is medically necessary to achieve normal body functioning or appearance, and clarifies that this includes adjunctive dental, orthodontic or prosthodontic support. Finally, this legislation would be limited to medically necessary procedures and excludes cosmetic procedures or surgeries.
The bill still needs to be reviewed by three other Congressional committees: Education and Labor Committee and the Ways and Means Committee in the House, as well as the H.E.L.P Committee in the Senate. Currently, the bipartisan bill has 42 Senate co-sponsors and 310 co-sponsors in the House.
In February 2020, AAO members advocated for the ELSA legislation during the Professional Advocacy Conference, and AAO members have sent over 1,000 messaging to legislators in support of ELSA. Dr. Douglas Harte recently participated in a virtual meeting with Congressman Frank Pallone (D-NJ), who is the Chair of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. Additionally, Dr. Michael Durbin participated in a virtual meeting with Congresswoman Cheri Bustos (D-IL), who is a member of the Education and Labor Committee. AAO members will continue to meet virtually with members of Congress to advocate for orthodontists and their patients, including the ELSA legislation.
Please consider reaching out to your legislators to ask for their continued support or to consider co-sponsoring if they have not already. You can do so through Voter Voice by clicking here.