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ADA PREPARED TO RESPOND TO PRESIDENT CLINTON'S HEALTH SYSTEM REFORM PLAN

 CHICAGO, Sept. 22 /PRNewswire/ -- The American Dental Association (ADA), which represents 140,000 dentists, is prepared to respond to President Clinton's address to a joint session of Congress on his health system reform plan.
 "The American Dental Association agrees with the president that a high priority should be placed on children," said Dr. Jack Harris, president of the Chicago-based ADA, commenting on the president's plan to offer preventive dental benefits to children up to age 18. "However, we believe any health system reform plan should first focus limited federal funds earmarked for dental benefits on providing oral health care to poor people of all ages starting with children."
 With regard to how dentistry fits into the overall theme of health system reform, Harris said, "Dentistry has, for a majority of Americans, already achieved many of the goals which President Clinton is struggling to accomplish with health system reform-cost containment and improved access to care and an emphasis on prevention," he said.
 Harris pointed out that dental insurance plans, for instance, encourage people to seek preventative care by reimbursing them at a higher percentage for regular teeth cleanings and checkups and a lower rate for more costly restorative work.
 Dr. John S. Zapp, executive director of the ADA, said that the delivery and financing of dental care has traditionally differed dramatically from medical care, making a merger between the two systems unworkable.
 "Only 4 percent of dental services are paid for with public funds," said Zapp, explaining one reason why the Clinton administration has not scrutinized dentistry as it has medicine, pharmaceuticals and insurance.
 Zapp said the ADA applauds the Clinton administration for recognizing that oral health is an integral part of overall health. He indicated the ADA is looking forward to working with both the Clinton administration and Congress to ensure that Americans receive the finest oral health care possible under health system reform.
 -0- 9/22/93
 /NOTE TO EDITORS: For more information, or to arrange an interview with Zapp or ADA leadership, call the contact below./
 /CONTACT: Chris Martin of the American Dental Association, 312-440-2806/


CO: American Dental Association ST: Illinois IN: HEA SU: EXE

IH-DC -- DC032 -- 4772 09/22/93 14:29 EDT
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Date:Sep 22, 1993
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