Issue: H.R. 2422, Action for Dental Health Act of 2017. Question: On Motion to Suspend the Rules and Pass, as Amended (2/3 vote required).
Result: Passed 387 to 13, 30 not voting. GOP and Democrat selected vote.
Freedom First Society: The Action for Dental Health Act of 2017 would finance dental care for “underserved populations.” As such, it is a particularly blatant example that Congress (here, the House of Representatives) has no respect for the limits of the Constitution, which protect our freedom. The Constitution does not authorize the “deep pockets” of the federal government to address every need in society, real or imagined. And dental care is not among those few responsibilities the Constitution entrusts to Washington. No Democrat and only 13 Republicans opposed these unconstitutional federal grants for welfare programs.
In reading the House debate (see below), we were reminded of the comment Harry Hopkins, assistant to President Franklin Roosevelt, made to a friend during an outing at a New York race track. Hopkins said that the strategy of the Roosevelt administration was to “tax and tax, spend and spend, elect and elect.” If the current congressional track were only that benign!
We have assigned (good vote) to the Nays and (bad vote) to the Yeas. (P = voted present; ? = not voting; blank = not listed on roll call.)
Congressional Research Service Summary:
Action for Dental Health Act 2017
(Sec. 2) This bill amends the Public Health Service Act to reauthorize oral health promotion and disease prevention programs through FY2022.
The Department of Health and Human Services may award grants or enter into contracts to collaborate with state, county, or local public officials and other stakeholders to develop and implement initiatives to: (1) improve oral health education and dental disease prevention; (2) reduce geographic barriers, language barriers, cultural barriers, and other similar barriers in the provision of dental services; (3) establish dental homes for children and adults; (4) reduce the use of emergency departments by individuals who seek dental services more appropriately delivered in a dental primary care setting; or (5) facilitate the provision of dental care to nursing home residents.
Analysis: Perhaps somebody should finance some of the new services addressed in the Action for Dental Health Act 2017, but not the Federal government. Perhaps. But consider that during the drive in the last century to build support for King-Anderson (Medicare), congressional hearings were manipulated to demonstrate a problem — the medical neglect of older Americans — that did not exist at that time. In his classic book, Code Blue, Dr. Edward Annis, former president of the American Medical Association, exposed the fraud from first hand experience.
At that time, many doctors willingly served impoverished patients for free, American medical societies took care of many of the needs of the poor, and some state governments reimbursed hospitals. Private charity was alive and well in America. But for decades Congress, guided by revolutionary socialist precepts, has determined that many needs of the poor are services they have a “right” to expect from government, thereby undermining charity.
Revolutionary Organization Ignored
But the real problem with this federal overreach is the hidden agenda it serves. Never mentioned in the mainstream media, the long drive to have government take control of medicine was organized more than a century ago by socialists and Communists (with support from top American Insiders).
The goal of this revolutionary network was central control of virtually every human activity (socialism) and world government. (See Chapter 1, Socialized Medicine, Media-Controlled Delusion online or order a printed copy of the entire booklet.)
Constitutional Authority Statement
As required by House rules, the bill sponsor, Rep. Robin Kelly (D-IL-02), provided a statement of constitutional authority to support the Action for Dental Health Act of 2017. She chose the following convenient copout:
Congress has the power to enact this legislation pursuant to the following: U.S. Constitution, Article I, Section 8, Clause 1 (“The Congress shall have Power to . . . provide for the common Defen[s]e and general Welfare of the United States[.]”) (By establishing a grant program for mobile dental health units, the bill will expand access to oral care, and improve the health and wellbeing of Americans that lack access to dental services.).
Unfortunately, representatives commonly use the “general welfare” clause in Article I, Section 8, to create the appearance that unconstitutional congressional acts are constitutional. The Constitution does not provide politicians with blanket authority to do anything that promotes “the general welfare.” As Notre Dame Law School Professor Charles Rice wrote in 1987: “The Constitution created a government of limited, delegated powers. The term ‘general welfare’ in Article I, Section 8, does not confer on Congress a general power to legislate and regulate for purposes beyond those enumerated in the remaining clauses of Section 8.”
At America’s founding, James Madison had also corrected this misinterpretation in Federalist No. 41:
“For what purpose could the enumeration of particular powers be inserted, if these and all others were meant to be included in the preceding general power? Nothing is more natural nor common than first to use a general phrase, and then to explain and qualify it by a recital of particulars.”
The “debate” (excerpts below) over the “Action for Dental Health Act 2017” further illustrates the lack of respect in Congress for constitutional limits. As you will see, the collectivist view that government programs are the key to creating a healthy society is alive and well in these “debates.”
Yet around the world, government-run health care systems are known to inflate costs, require rationing, and kill the very initiative that launched modern medicine in the first place (for government to regulate). Indeed, in America, health care is already one of the most overregulated industries with doctors and hospitals strangled by senseless paperwork.
But more ominously, the phony socialist argument is really camouflage for a power grab — making the people dependent on government instead of vice versa.
Excerpts from Congressional Record (2-26-18) [Emphasis added.]:
Representative Michael Burgess (R) TX 26:
“This bill also reauthorizes HRSA’s [Health Resources and Services Administration] Grants to States to Support Oral Health Workforce Activities and permits States to establish dental homes, mobile or portable dental clinics, initiatives to reduce the use of emergency departments by patients seeking dental services, and initiatives to provide dental care to nursing home residents. Good oral health is an important component of good overall health, and this bill takes important steps to help improve the dental care in underserved communities.”
Representative Gene Green (D) TX 29:
“For millions of Americans, affordable dental care is hard to find and desperately needed. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly half of all individuals in our country over the age of 30 suffer from some form of gum disease. One in four children under the age of 5 already have cavities. The lack of basic oral health services in some communities today leads many Americans to delay treatment to the point the pain is so severe that they rush to the emergency room, where they receive expensive treatment for common dental issues. Dental care is necessary for more than cosmetic reasons. Good oral health is vital to a person’s overall health. Bad oral health can be a sign of larger health issues….
“The Action for Dental Health Act will make grants available through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Health Resources and Services Administration, for programs to improve oral health for underserved populations. This legislation will make it possible for groups, such as State health departments and nonprofit dental societies, to receive funding for critical oral health services. These services may include providing dental services to nursing home residents, operating a mobile dental clinic, or implementing an emergency room program so patients can receive dental care in the dentist’s chair instead of the ER.”
Freedom First Society: “This legislation will make it possible for groups … to receive funding.” Rep. Green carefully avoids mentioning where the funding comes from — ultimately, private citizens. And federal services for health matters are incredibly more expensive than if left to private enterprise or even state government. Indeed, the federal government is now so large that it can take years for Congress to correct a glaring problem in one of its unconstitutional programs.
Sponsor Rep. Robin Kelly (D) IL 02:
“It has been a tremendous honor to work with my colleague, Mr. Simpson from Idaho, in moving this legislation that I am intensely passionate about — the Action for Dental Health Act. I want to acknowledge that, while Members of this Chamber may not always see eye-to-eye on matters of health policy, I am proud that my colleagues were able to work together in a constructive, compassionate, and considerate way to address the critical public health matter of improving oral health in America.
“Mr. Speaker, all Americans deserve a healthy smile; but, sadly, each year, tens of millions of Americans forego needed oral healthcare due to poverty, fear, language or cultural barriers, or the simple fact that there isn’t a dentist in the area in which they live. We know that regular visits to a dentist can do more than keep your smile attractive. They can tell a whole lot about your overall health, including whether or not you may be developing a disease like diabetes, or if you are at risk for a stroke.
“Fifty million Americans live in places with limited access to dental care, and economically vulnerable adults are almost twice as likely to have had no dental care in the previous year than Americans in middle-and upper-income brackets.
“Dental problems are a leading problem of school absences for kids and missed work for parents. Oral health has a direct relationship with school performance. Kids who reported having recent tooth pain were four times more likely to have a low grade point average — below the median GPA of 2.8 — when compared to children without oral pain, according to a study by the Ostrow School of Dentistry at the University of Southern California.
“My bill improves oral health for Americans by breaking down barriers to care. It allows organizations to qualify for oral health grants to support activities that improve oral health education and dental disease prevention. This includes developing and expanding outreach programs that will facilitate establishing dental homes for children and adults, including the elderly, blind, and disabled.
“The Action for Dental Health Act has received the endorsement of the American Dental Association, the National Dental Association, the American Dental Education Association, and a bipartisan coalition of our congressional colleagues.… I am a true believer in the power of order and bipartisanship in making a difference in the lives of the families we represent.”
Cosponsor Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D) TX 18:
“I rise in strong support of H.R. 2422, the Action for Dental Health Act of 2017. The ADH Act will allow states to receive grants that will establish innovative dental programs on behalf of the Health Resources and Services Administration. Passing H.R. 2422 will establish dental homes for children and adults, reduce use of emergency departments for dental services, and reduce geographic, language and cultural barriers in the dental care system.
“Mr. Speaker, there is a great need to improve oral health education and prevent dental diseases in low-income and underserved communities. The health of many Americans is dependent upon the resources we provide. African Americans, Hispanics, and Native Americans and Alaska Natives generally have the poorest oral health of any racial and ethnic groups in the United States. African Americans, non-Hispanics, and Mexican Americans aged 35 to 44 years experience untreated tooth decay nearly twice as much as white, non-Hispanics.
“Poor oral health is strongly correlated with other chronic health conditions like cardiovascular diseases, lung disease, strokes, diabetes and can also contribute to problems with employment which furthers poverty. The Surgeon General estimates that children with oral disease miss over 51 million hours of school each year, and that adults with oral disease miss approximately 164 million hours of work each year. I urge my colleagues to join me in supporting H.R. 2422 to show their support and compassion for the people we serve and to ensure that individuals predisposed to contracting any sort of dental diseases receive the proper prevention and care they deserve.”