Congress is heading toward approval of the first health-reform bill since the national health-care

Congress is heading toward approval of the first health-reform bill since the national health-care debate four years ago, and it includes several benefits for dentists and their patients. The legislation would allow workers to keep their insurance when they move from one job to the next, even if they have a pre-existing medical condition. Small business owners, including dentists, would be able to deduct 80 percent of the cost of their health-insurance from their income taxes. But the legislatio

Congress is heading toward approval of the first health-reform bill since the national health-care debate four years ago, and it includes several benefits for dentists and their patients. The legislation would allow workers to keep their insurance when they move from one job to the next, even if they have a pre-existing medical condition. Small business owners, including dentists, would be able to deduct 80 percent of the cost of their health-insurance from their income taxes. But the legislation still faces some big battles before final approval. The Senate version requires all health-insurance plans to provide mental-health benefits on a par with physical ones. Opponents say that would drive up costs, especially for small business owners. The House version calls for medical-savings accounts that would allow patients to use tax-free dollars to purchase health care. But the White House and many Democrats oppose the MSAs. They argue that the healthiest people would opt for MSAs, leaving only the sickest in traditional health plans. They argue that would drive up costs for everyone else. It`s likely a watered-down version of the legislation will emerge from the debate.

Judi Hasson

Washington Correspondent

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