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The new SCHIP bill, which was recently passed through the House of Representatives, includes a provision aimed at improving dental care for children.
If the State Children's Health Insurance Program is expanded, states will be mandated to provide dental benefits in their programs, giving more children who may not have dental insurance access to dental care.
This bill intends to expand the program by more than $32 billion in the next five years, a seemingly striking blow to the vetoes on similar legislation from the Bush administration.
Approximately six million children are currently enrolled in the program and if the bill is approved by the senate, and subsequently signed by the new administration, it has the potential to extend dental care coverage to about four million more children.
This may reduce incidences of tooth decay, which is the single most common chronic childhood disease, according to the American Dental Association. Many public schools have implemented programs to bring free dental care to its students in an effort to improve their dental health.
Funding for the SCHIP bill will come from a tax increase on various tobacco products. Cigarettes tax will increase from 39 cents to $1 a pack.
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