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By Patrick Cooney, The Federal Group, Inc.
Legislative Representative, Dental Trade Alliance

The Senate Finance Committee held a hearing for Seema Verma' nomination to lead the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) on Feb. 16.  Verma, president, CEO and founder of consulting firm SVC Inc., is credited as the architect of Indiana's Medicaid expansion, which includes several conservative elements such as cost sharing.

By Patrick Cooney, The Federal Group, Inc.
Legislative Representative, Dental Trade Alliance

By Patrick Cooney, The Federal Group, Inc.
Legislative Representative, Dental Trade Alliance

Sens. Susan Collins (R-ME) and Bill Cassidy (R-LA) - two lawmakers who have been adamant that there must be a replacement plan soon after the law is repealed - introduced their version of an Obamacare replacement on Monday. It was quickly dismissed as an "empty facade" by the Senate's top Democrat, Chuck Schumer (D-NY).

The proposal wouldn't fully repeal the law and would allow states to keep operating under the law if they choose. The legislation, known as the Patient Freedom Act, would shift the burden of administering insurance coverage to states through block-grant-style funding. It would allow states to decide whether they want the current system of state and federal insurance exchanges, new state-run marketplaces with tax-credit-funded health savings accounts or no federal funding at all. Every state would have access to the same level of funding that is available through Obamacare - regardless of whether the state actually expanded Medicaid.

The measure would repeal federal mandates that require individuals and business owners to buy insurance, shifting health-care decisions to governors and state legislatures. The plan does keep key benefits, such as a ban on insurers denying coverage based on preexisting conditions, allowing adult children to stay on their parents' plan until the age of 26, and free coverage for preventive care such as mammograms and childhood vaccines. However, to pay for all of these benefits, they would also need to keep the taxes in Obamacare that Republicans have long opposed.

 

This article was prepared by Patrick Cooney in his personal capacity. The opinions expressed in this article are the author's own and do not reflect the view of the Dental Trade Alliance.

#2min2x 

Is the hashtag familiar? It should be. After the combined efforts of the Ad Council and the Partnership for Healthy Mouths, Healthy Lives, Americans have become familiar with the call to make sure kids brush two minutes, twice a day. The Kids’ Healthy Mouths campaign continues to reach tens of thousands of parents, caregivers and oral health supporters every day through social media. Take a look at the latest outreach numbers and support their efforts to make sure 2min2x remains at the top of American’s minds by following them on social media.

By Patrick Cooney, The Federal Group, Inc.
Legislative Representative, Dental Trade Alliance

In December, Congress passed and President Obama signed into law the 21st Century Cures Act. The new law seeks to promote new medical treatments by increasing research money for the National Institutes of Health and streamlining the Food and Drug Administration's review of new drugs and devices.

By Patrick Cooney, The Federal Group, Inc.
Legislative Representative, Dental Trade Alliance

House and Senate Republican leaders are moving ahead with plans to repeal Obamacare then replace it later — dismissing mounting pressure from their own party to delay the repeal vote until they have a fully formed alternative. In January, the Senate advanced a budget resolution on a vote of 51-48, setting up a filibuster-proof process for repealing parts of Obamacare.

By Patrick Cooney, The Federal Group, Inc.
Legislative Representative, Dental Trade Alliance

Recently, President Obama signed the $6.3 billion, 21st Century Cures Act. The measure dedicates $5.3 billion for the FDA and National Institutes of Health to facilitate research and revise the approval process, while also authorizing increased appropriations for NIH from fiscal 2018 through 2020.

Specific amounts would be allocated to several initiatives during the 10-year period. The total funding allocated for each initiative would be capped at:

  • $1.46 billion for a precision medicine initiative, with specific funding amounts from fiscal 2017 through 2026.
  • $1.51 billion for the Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies Initiative or “BRAIN Initiative,” with specific amounts allocated for fiscal 2017 through 2026.
  • $1.8 billion for Vice President Biden’s Cancer Moonshot to aid the development of cancer vaccines, tests, immune therapies and other treatments.
  • $30 million for clinical research in the field of regenerative medicine using adult stem cells.

This article was prepared by Patrick Cooney in his personal capacity. The opinions expressed in this article are the author's own and do not reflect the view of the Dental Trade Alliance.

By Patrick Cooney, The Federal Group, Inc.
Legislative Representative, Dental Trade Alliance

On December 5, Health Affairs, a publication dedicated to analysis on health policy and issues affecting health and healthcare, released its December issue which explored the state of oral health. Editor-in-chief Alan Weil wrote that, “the divide between dental care and medical care is vast, has significant consequences for patients, and is entirely of our own making.”

The publication featured more than 15 articles on an array of topics including the cost, use, and access to oral health, oral healthcare in Medicare and Medicaid, and the oral healthcare workforce. On December 7, Health Affairs hosted a briefing in Washington, D.C., where article authors explained their findings relating to seniors' dental care, a dental-medical divide, cost barriers to dental care and many other topics.

You can read the issue here.

This article was prepared by Patrick Cooney in his personal capacity. The opinions expressed in this article are the author's own and do not reflect the view of the Dental Trade Alliance.

Please join us in welcoming our newest members:

Ascendant Capital Markets, LLC - Dr. Chris Gayde’s previous dental company, Hunter Wise (also a lender), was absorbed by Ascendiant. Because of his many prior years of working with dental companies, Dr. Gayde was brought in to grow their dental (healthcare) portfolio.  

Best Buy Dental - Best Buy Dental distributes infection control products, disposables, small hand instruments, burs, anesthetics, autoclaves, composite materials, syringe tips and more. On–line and fax ordering for their dentist customers is a large part of their business. 

Dental Market IQ -  Dental Market IQ is an industry consultant, lead generator, and—for the dental industry—a provider of healthcare data, aggregated from insurance providers.   

Nanova Biomaterials, Inc. - Nanova Biomaterials manufacturers and sells composites, whitening gels, and varnish utilizing a new nano fiber technology.      

O’Neal Solutions - O’Neal Solutions is a dental and medical company consultant providing a suite of services including: company reorganization, brand building, domestic and international distribution assistance, and organizational assessment.

Rubicon 360, Inc. - Rubicon 360 advises dental companies on business expansion, exhibitions, the U.S. market, international exports and company new product launches.

Verena Solutions - Verena Solutions is a manufacturer of a new syringe/capping system for dentists. This is a new company and has FDA approval to sell their syringe system. They plan to sell through distribution channels but are also considering private label or licensing opportunities.

Winsix USA, Inc. - Winsix USA, Inc. is a manufacturer of dental implants. The parent company (Biosafin) is based in Italy and manufacturers implants, abutments and other laboratory products. The company will sell through distribution channels but is also interested in private label manufacturing.      

See all the companies that joined DTA in 2016.

Browse the DTA Member Directory.

By Patrick Cooney, The Federal Group, Inc.
Legislative Representative, Dental Trade Alliance

The Dental Trade Alliance annual meeting in Arizona is going to be a special event. One highlight will be the attendance of Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ) who represents Arizona’s 4th Congressional District. He will speak briefly to the attendees the day after the elections and will be able to give an update about how he sees the new administration and the new 115th Congress working together in 2017. Rep. Gosar is a member of the Freedom Caucus in Congress and one of the more conservative members of the House of Representatives.

On healthcare, Rep. Gosar wants the 2010 Affordable Care Act repealed and replaced with what he calls, “free-market, patient-centered” alternative as well as legislation to address the threat of medical malpractice lawsuits. He believes that everybody’s healthcare needs are different and only competition in the market will lead to quality care. Rep. Gosar earned a bachelor’s from Creighton University and dental degree from Creighton’s Boyne School of Dentistry in 1985. He owned his dental practice in Flagstaff for 25 years. He was named Arizona dentist of the year in 2001.

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