A Healthy Blog

Massachusetts health care — wonky, with a healthy dose of reality

A First -- A Legislative Oral Health Caucus

A First -- A Legislative Oral Health Caucus

May 11, 2005

Yesterday, in a back room in the Massachusetts State House, eight senators and reps along with about ten legislative aides, met with oral health advocates to establish the first state legislative oral health caucus in the nation. Oral health? You mean teeth? Yes, and a lot more. Oral health, good dental care, is intimately tied to one's overall health. Yet medicine and public policy have encouraged a separation which leads to awful policy choices such as the elimination of adult dental services from the Mass. Medicaid program in late 2002. So here's how it works now -- MassHealth will only pay for dental services for adults when teeth get so rotten they need to be pulled -- aka, extractions. After they're pulled, the state no longer pays for dentures to replace them. Blenders and straws become essential items of daily living. That's why we tip our hats to: Chairs -- Sen. Harriette Chandler and Rep. Kathy Teahan, and Co-Chairs -- Sen. Bruce Tarr (R!) and Rep. Cheryl Rivera. These folks get it, and we appreciate their leadership. We're making a big push right now (right now!) to restore adult dental benefits in MassHealth. Please help us by taking 53 seconds to send an email to your state senator to support this. Click here, and thanks!!