The House of Representatives Appropriations Committee held a markup for the fiscal year 2021 funding legislation on July 13, including the appropriations package for the Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies (Labor-HHS). As anticipated, the Committee has included funding for vital oral health-related programs and provisions in the FY2021 Labor-HHS package.
Some of the key provisions included were:
- $12 million for General Dentistry Residency Programs
- Continuation of funding for the Dental Faculty Loan Repayment program
- $300,000 for HRSA's oral health literacy awareness and education campaign
- Language bolstering the authority of HRSA's Chief Dental Officer (CDO) position
- Language expressing concern over the continued vacancy of the CDO position at CMS
These included provisions align with those requested by AGD in a June 15 letter that was sent to the leadership of key House and Senate Appropriations Subcommittees.
While the House has been active in advancing FY2021 funding proposals, the Senate has yet to take up any legislation. Much of the delay in the Senate's appropriations process is thought to be over continued disagreements regarding coronavirus aid and police violence policy. The lack of a clear timeline for bicameral negotiations over FY2021 appropriations is creating uncertainty as to when a final government funding package will emerge.
Impact on General Dentistry: AGD appreciates the consideration and inclusion of oral health policy provisions and sustained funding by the House in its Labor-HHS package. The AGD regularly works with relevant appropriations subcommittees to safeguard government programs that improve the nation's oral health and the practice of general dentistry, and will continue to do so through the FY2021 process.