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“Penny-wise and pound-foolish,” MassHealth Adult Dental Cuts in the New York Times

“Penny-wise and pound-foolish,” MassHealth Adult Dental Cuts in the New York Times

August 29, 2012

NY TImes dental story screenshot

Oral Health Advocacy Task ForceMore than 800,000 low-income residents of the Commonwealth have been impacted by the 2010 cuts to MassHealth and Commonwealth Care adult dental benefits. When Governor Deval Patrick signed the FY13 budget into law, it authorized the restoration of two procedure codes that will allow consumers who rely on MassHealth and CommCare for their dental coverage to get composite fillings for their front teeth, starting January 1. This compromise decision is a promising first step toward full restoration of benefits that consumers, providers, and the Oral Health Advocacy Taskforce are calling for.

This morning’s New York Times includes a story on the impact of the cuts and the steps Massachusetts is taking toward restoration. As Illinois joins the growing list of states to slash dental benefits, the recent move by the Commonwealth is a sign of hope for other states that have experienced cuts. Restoring fillings for front teeth will help to keep people employed in a service-based workforce, but there is a long way to go to ensure that Medicaid patients have consistent access to quality oral health care. Oral health is essential to overall health, and dental insurance is health insurance. That is why advocates will continue to fight for whole body health coverage, including full restoration of MassHealth adult dental benefits.

If you’d like to get involved, share your story, or find out more about our efforts to restore Medicaid dental benefits, please fill out this web form, or contact Courtney Chelo at 617-275-2935 or cchelo@hcfama.org.

You can find the full story from the New York Times here, or in today’s print edition on page A16.