[Congressional Record Volume 167, Number 212 (Wednesday, December 8, 2021)]
[House]
[Pages H7525-H7527]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]




             ORAL HEALTH LITERACY AND AWARENESS ACT OF 2021

  Mr. PALLONE. Madam Speaker, I move to suspend the rules and pass the 
bill (H.R. 4555) to amend the Public Health Service Act to authorize a 
public education campaign across all relevant programs of the Health 
Resources and Services Administration to increase oral health literacy 
and awareness.
  The Clerk read the title of the bill.
  The text of the bill is as follows:

                               H.R. 4555

       Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of 
     the United States of America in Congress assembled,

     SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

       This Act may be cited as the ``Oral Health Literacy and 
     Awareness Act of 2021''.

     SEC. 2. ORAL HEALTH LITERACY AND AWARENESS CAMPAIGN.

       The Public Health Service Act is amended by inserting after 
     section 340G-1 of such Act (42 U.S.C. 256g-1) the following:

     ``SEC. 340G-2. ORAL HEALTH LITERACY AND AWARENESS.

       ``(a) Campaign.--The Secretary, acting through the 
     Administrator of the Health Resources and Services 
     Administration, shall establish a public education campaign 
     (referred to in this subsection as the `campaign') across all 
     relevant programs of the Health Resources and Services 
     Administration (including the health center program, oral 
     health workforce programs, maternal and child health 
     programs, the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program, and rural health 
     programs) to increase oral health literacy and awareness.
       ``(b) Strategies.--In carrying out the campaign, the 
     Secretary shall identify oral health literacy and awareness 
     strategies that are evidence-based and focused on oral health 
     care education, including education on prevention of oral 
     disease such as early childhood and other caries, periodontal 
     disease, and oral cancer.
       ``(c) Focus.--The Secretary shall design the campaign to 
     communicate directly with

[[Page H7526]]

     specific populations, including children, pregnant women, 
     parents, the elderly, individuals with disabilities, and 
     ethnic and racial minority populations, including Indians, 
     Alaska Natives, and Native Hawaiians, in a culturally and 
     linguistically appropriate manner.
       ``(d) Outcomes.--In carrying out the campaign, the 
     Secretary shall include a process for measuring outcomes and 
     effectiveness.
       ``(e) Report to Congress.--Not later than 3 years after the 
     date of enactment of this section, the Secretary shall submit 
     to the Committee on Energy and Commerce of the House of 
     Representatives and the Committee on Health, Education, 
     Labor, and Pensions of the Senate a report on the outcomes 
     and effectiveness of the campaign.
       ``(f) Authorization of Appropriations.--To carry out this 
     section, there is authorized to be appropriated $750,000 for 
     each of fiscal years 2022 through 2026.''.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Pursuant to the rule, the gentleman from New 
Jersey (Mr. Pallone) and the gentleman from Michigan (Mr. Upton) each 
will control 20 minutes.
  The Chair recognizes the gentleman from New Jersey.


                             General Leave

  Mr. PALLONE. Madam Speaker, I ask unanimous consent that all Members 
have 5 legislative days in which to revise and extend their remarks and 
include extraneous material on H.R. 4555.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Is there objection to the request of the 
gentleman from New Jersey?
  There was no objection.
  Mr. PALLONE. Madam Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may 
consume.
  Madam Speaker, oral health is an important component of general 
health and well-being, but it is a big problem for many Americans. 
Tooth decay is the most common chronic disease in both children and 
adults in the United States. More than one in four adults have 
untreated cavities, and nearly half of American adults show signs of 
gum disease.
  Regular preventative dental care can catch these oral health problems 
early when they are easiest to treat. Unfortunately, less than half of 
Americans use the oral healthcare system. One of the best ways to 
promote oral healthcare is to increase oral health literacy.
  H.R. 4555, the Oral Health Literacy and Awareness Act, will 
accomplish this by expanding oral health literacy programs. H.R. 4555 
will authorize a public education campaign to increase oral health 
literacy and awareness across all relevant programs of the Health 
Resources and Services Administration.
  This bill will also help us learn about the effectiveness of targeted 
oral health literacy campaigns, and it will inform future efforts to 
improve oral health literacy for all Americans.
  I want to thank Representatives Cardenas and Bilirakis, members of 
the Energy and Commerce Committee, for their bipartisan work on this 
legislation. I urge my colleagues to support this important bill, and I 
reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. UPTON. Madam Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
  Madam Speaker, I rise today to speak on H.R. 4555, the Oral Health 
Literacy and Awareness Act of 2021, sponsored by my Energy and Commerce 
Committee colleagues, Representatives Bilirakis and Cardenas.
  We all know that oral health plays such an important role in an 
individual's overall health and well-being. A lack of proper oral 
hygiene has been proven to increase the risk of chronic health 
conditions.
  However, good oral hygiene and dental checkups, in addition to 
increased education, can help patients avoid most oral health ailments. 
It is so important for kids to develop healthy habits at a young age.
  This bill directs the Health Resources and Services Administration to 
develop a public education campaign to increase oral health literacy 
and awareness. By increasing such, the bill will promote good oral 
health habits and will help to prevent the development of avoidable, 
complex medical conditions in the future.
  Madam Speaker, I urge my colleagues to support the bill. I remind 
them this bill, as I recall, passed unanimously in the committee and 
should not be a problem. I thank my chairman and ranking member for 
getting this bill to the House floor quickly.
  Madam Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. PALLONE. Madam Speaker, I yield 3 minutes to the gentleman from 
California (Mr. Cardenas), a member of the Energy and Commerce 
Committee who is the lead sponsor of the bill.
  Mr. CARDENAS. Madam Speaker, I thank the chairman for this 
opportunity for us to pass these amazing bills.
  Madam Speaker, I want to take note: The seven bills that we are 
discussing on the floor over the last hour and a half, which we will 
soon vote with the entire body of this House, all of those bills passed 
out of the Energy and Commerce Committee unanimously. That means every 
Republican and Democrat voted ``yes.'' There were no ``no'' votes.
  I feel it is important for us to mention that because when you look 
at the press, they think that all we are doing here is arguing, 
fussing, and fighting with each other, but we do work together.
  To all of my Republican colleagues on the committee and Democratic 
colleagues on the committee, thank you so much for doing our job.
  Madam Speaker, I rise today to urge my colleagues to support this 
bipartisan bill with Congressman Bilirakis, the Oral Health Literacy 
and Awareness Act of 2021.
  Oral health is whole body health. It is often neglected by parents 
who, unfortunately, lack resources and knowledge.
  Oral health accounts for some of the deepest health disparities in 
all low-income families across America. For many, the cost of dental 
neglect can be detrimental, especially for children. Arthritis, 
autoimmune disease, cardiovascular disease, inflammatory skin 
disorders, gut issues, and more can all be caused or worsened by 
untreated tooth decay and oral disease.
  According to the CDC, children who have poor oral health often miss 
more school and receive lower grades than children who don't. Even more 
alarming, Latino kids, like those in my district, experience two times 
more tooth decay and cavities than their White peers.

                              {time}  1700

  We can and must do better for our children and our country. Most of 
these issues can be prevented with access to the right information and 
resources. Our legislation will help low-income families and 
communities of color learn about the benefits of regular dental care 
and empower them to make better decisions on their overall oral health.
  Madam Speaker, this is a picture of a child's mouth. Too many 
children across America are going through this pain, through this 
detrimental situation, because their parents don't understand that they 
can do better for their children with better practices and information. 
That is what this bill is about.
  Once parents have access to information on the importance of healthy 
habits, they can prevent this kind of result. These tips help families 
and children maintain long-term oral hygiene at home. Through simple 
education and awareness campaigns, we will ensure families are better 
equipped to take control of their family's health.
  We can't cut corners here, Madam Speaker. Let's start ensuring oral 
health is part of the conversation in every home every day as often as 
possible. It is the only way we will make sure that children across 
America do not suffer like this child has suffered.
  I also want to say, once again, thank you to Chairman Pallone, House 
subcommittee Chairwoman Anna Eshoo, and all of my colleagues, 
Republican and Democrat, on the committee for passing this bill.
  Mr. UPTON. Madam Speaker, I would again urge my colleagues to support 
this bill passed unanimously in the greatest committee on the face of 
the Earth.
  Madam Speaker, I yield back the balance of my time.
  Mr. PALLONE. Madam Speaker, I urge bipartisan support for this bill.
  As Mr. Cardenas said, there is nothing, really, more important than 
oral health. We know there are so many times when poor dental care has 
led to much more severe problems of all sorts, so this is really an 
important bill.
  Madam Speaker, I urge its support, and I yield back the balance of my 
time.

[[Page H7527]]

  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The question is on the motion offered by the 
gentleman from New Jersey (Mr. Pallone) that the House suspend the 
rules and pass the bill, H.R. 4555.
  The question was taken.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. In the opinion of the Chair, two-thirds 
being in the affirmative, the ayes have it.
  Mr. WEBER of Texas. Madam Speaker, on that I demand the yeas and 
nays.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Pursuant to section 3(s) of House Resolution 
8, the yeas and nays are ordered.
  Pursuant to clause 8 of rule XX, further proceedings on this motion 
are postponed.

                          ____________________