14:55 PM

King v. Burwell: An Historic Moment for Prioritizing Equity and Improving Health

By Steve Pollock, President and Chief Executive Officer

In late June, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of upholding an important piece of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) in the King v. Burwell case. This ruling confirmed the eligibility of Americans to receive tax credits to purchase much-needed health coverage, whether they live in a state with its own insurance exchange or one operated by the federal government. This crucial ruling underscores the importance of equity – no matter where you live – when it comes to getting the care you need. King v. Burwell is a landmark decision – marking a truly unique time in our history as a country and providing healthcare to those who need it most.

The ACA is already eliminating significant barriers to dental care. Thanks to this important Supreme Court decision, it will be able to continue to bring coverage to people across the country. To help illustrate the impact of ACA already, according to the American Dental Association:

· 17.7 million adults are eligible to receive basic dental coverage through the ACA
· 4.5 million adults will gain extensive dental benefits through Medicaid
· About 800,000 adults will gain dental benefits through the health insurance exchanges

While we cannot understate the importance of the King v. Burwell ruling and its representation of our leaders’ commitment to providing everyone – no matter your income, age or geographic location – with access to care and the ability to lead a healthy life, we still have our work cut out for us:
  1. As my colleague Dan Sheehan mentioned in a recent post about healthcare.gov,we must improve the federal exchange so consumers can access the dental coverage they need and want.
  2. We must provide consumers with the tools they need to make coverage decisions that positively impact their oral health. This means including consumer-focused resources on healthcare.gov to help consumers choose the right dental coverage for their families.
  3. While the ACA enables access, many are still left out of the mix. This year, on the 50th anniversary, Medicaid and Medicare need to provide for comprehensive adult dental benefits.
As I look to the future from this ruling, I am hopeful that we will increase access to healthcare and promote equity across the U.S., allowing our citizens to achieve their healthiest selves. At DentaQuest, we are committed to working with our leaders, stakeholders and local communities to achieve this goal and it is within our grasp!