Congresswoman Maxine Waters delivered the following remarks during the National Dental Association's 14th Annual "NDA Day on Capitol Hill" on Thursday, May 9, 2013:
"This year, I am especially proud to join you for the Centennial Anniversary of the National Dental Association. During the past 100 years, you have been in the forefront of the movement for health care reform.
Let me remind you, the Affordable Care Act was signed into law three years ago. It's not perfect, but it's already making a difference in the lives of American families. Millions of uninsured Americans will gain access to affordable coverage when the new health exchanges open in January. Insurance plans in these new marketplaces will be required to cover children's dental care.
"The House Republicans have already voted 34 times to repeal the Affordable Care Act, and they are bringing another repeal bill to the floor next week. What they should be doing is stopping sequestration.
"Medicaid and Medicare are exempt from sequestration. Now, I know many of you serve patients who are on Medicaid. I am deeply grateful to you for your service to these patients, because I know there are many dentists who are not willing to serve them. And I will do everything I can to protect Medicaid, and the families who depend on it.
"Nevertheless, sequestration is having a devastating impact on health programs across this country. Cuts to Community Health Centers could leave 1 million low-income and uninsured patients without basic medical and dental services.
"Instead of ending sequestration, House Republicans are trying to make even deeper cuts in essential government services. The Ryan plan slashes $810 billion from Medicaid over the next 10 years, jeopardizing care for millions of seniors in nursing homes and undermining health care for low-income children, families, and persons with disabilities. Slashing Medicaid could leave millions of children without access to basic medical and dental services. And it could lead to more needless tragedies like the heartbreaking case of Deamonte Driver, the 12-year-old boy who died from complications of tooth decay because his mother could not afford to take him to a dentist.
"We have to protect Medicaid and other essential medical and dental programs and end sequestration, and we have to end it now! And this is why it is so important for the National Dental Association to be back on Capitol Hill! Thank you for celebrating your 100th anniversary by returning to Capitol Hill and speaking truth to power."