AGD Urges the Senate to Take Up ELSA

  • by AGD Washington Advocacy Representative
  • Nov 10, 2022
The AGD recently signed onto an Organized Dentistry Coalition letter, urging leaders on the Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee to include S.754, the Ensuring Lasting Smiles Act (ELSA), in any package scheduled to be taken up by the Senate before the end of the year. The legislation requires all group and individual health insurance plans to cover the diagnosis and treatment of congenital anomalies and birth defects, including services and procedures such as orthodontic and prosthodontic support that are deemed necessary to achieve normal body function.

ELSA passed the House of Representative with 310 votes in April. With few congressional days left in the 117th Congress, a year-end package is likely the only option to ensure ELSA is enacted before the current Congress adjourns indefinitely. After the current Congress ends and a new one begins in January, efforts to pass the ELSA will begin again from scratch. The legislation will have to be reintroduced and passed by both the House and Senate before it goes to President Biden’s desk.

Impact on General Dentistry: According to the CDC’s National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities, approximately 1 in every 33 babies born in the United States each year has a congenital anomaly, commonly referred to as a birth defect. Dental and craniofacial anomalies such as hypodontia and cleft lip and palate often impede daily functioning of a patient’s ability to breathe, eat, and speak. The AGD strongly supports the ELSA and calls on the Senate to pass the legislation before the end of the 117th Congress.