A Healthy Blog

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

Let’s make them see R.E.D. on Tuesday!

Let’s make them see R.E.D. on Tuesday!

April 30, 2011

Restore Essential Dental Benefits for Mass Residents

Oral health is full body health. So, why would Massachusetts – the state that pioneered universal healthcare for all residents – slash dental benefits for those that need it most? The answer is easy, budget cuts. Well, that had HCFA seeing RED. We are going to take action and we need your help! Please plan to join HCFA, dental students, patient advocates and those affected by the cuts at the statehouse next Tuesday May 3rd at 10 am to make sure that policy makers Restore Essential Dental Benefits to Massachusetts Residents. To ensure that we are seen and heard, we are asking all of those who attend the event to “wear RED to restore” in support of this event.

We want you to join us in supporting An Act to Restore MassHealth Adult Dental Benefits (S. 1079/H .1529). If enacted, the bill would restore the $56 million in MassHealth dental coverage cuts that went into effect last June 30 as part of the fiscal year 2011 budget.

Restoring Essential Dental Benefits to Massachusetts Residents will help hundreds of thousands of people in the Commonwealth maintain adequate oral healthcare. One of those people who will be helped is a woman named AnnaMae. Last year, AnnaMae went to her doctor with a toothache. She was sent home with pain medication and told to see a dentist. When AnnaMae went to the dentist, she was told that she would need to have three teeth pulled. But just days after her visit to the dentist, she received a notice saying that funding for MassHealth adult dental benefits had been slashed. So, in the course of a week, AnnaMae had three teeth extracted as well as invasive moldings, oral surgery and fittings. Unfortunately, the moldings for her teeth were made before MassHealth received her dentists' claims so she still has gaps in her mouth where her teeth were pulled. Annamae said “our state is paying thousands more each year to care for health issues that could have been staved off if people like myself had access to comprehensive dental care - which addresses oral issues before they become whole health issues."

Oral health is full body health, so let’s not let budget cuts hinder our states overall health.

Please join AnnaMae, HCFA, the Oral Health Advocacy Taskforce and other supporters to Restore Essential Dental Benefits to Massachusetts Residents next Tuesday May, 3rd at 1pm at the statehouse…and of course, remember to “wear RED to restore.” Let’s make them see R.E.D. on Tuesday!

For details, download our flyer (pdf) or contact Courtney Chelo at cchelo@hcfama.org.