A Healthy Blog

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

Oral Health

AARP Alert: Seniors’ Prescriptions; MassHealth Dental Benefits at Risk

Deborah Banda, State Director of AARP Massachusetts sent over their latest alert, which we fully endorse: As the Massachusetts Senate begins its debate on the Fiscal Year 2011 state budget, Senators need to hear from you. At risk: Funding that helps seniors afford their prescriptions, and dental health benefits for adults with low-incomes. Whether you rely on these benefits, know someone who does, or feel compelled to speak out for those who most need our help, please call 1-888-259-9789 today. Ask your Senator to restore funding to Prescription Advantage, the state’s pharmacy assistance... Read more »

Oral Health IS Overall Health - Help Keep Critical Services

Access to oral health care is a critical part of promoting overall health. The best way to promote access and delivery of these crucial services is by having a strong network of multiple providers.  In recognition of this, the Massachusetts Dental Society has worked hard to expand their reach into the community by significantly increasing the number of private providers accepting MassHealth.  Eliminating care by private dentists erodes this carefully balanced system of care and places the sole responsibility on the Safety Net.   The proposed elimination of MassHealth adult dental benefits... Read more »

We Can Still Save MassHealth Dental!

Out of all the MassHealth benefits, dental is the most universal; it provides vital health coverage to nearly 700,000 people in Massachusetts. The Governor and the House have proposed huge cuts to the MassHealth adult dental program, eliminating fillings, treatment for gum disease, and dentures. Without dentures, tens of thousands of low-income seniors will not be able to eat the foods they need to stay healthy. Without fillings, dental decay cannot be stopped from spreading throughout the body. If these cuts are sustained by the Senate, the only remaining coverage would be check-ups,... Read more »

Building Support for Water Fluoridation

A recent study published in the Journal of Public Health Dentistry examined risk perception and water fluoridation support and opposition in Australia, and could have implications for how we advocate here. The US Centers for Disease Control considers fluoridation one of the top public health measures, along with pasteurization and water purification. In tight economic times, this step is especially important, as every dollar spent on fluoridation saves an estimated $38 in costly treatment further down the line. According to the study, “despite the role frequently played by the general public... Read more »

Legislators stand up for oral health: Dental insurance is health insurance

The House Ways & Means budget calls for cuts to MassHealth adult dental benefits that would eliminate restorative services for the 700,000 adults on MassHealth. This proposal to cut crucial oral health services for adults on MassHealth will lead to needless pain and suffering at a time when many people are most vulnerable. Additionally, below-poverty individuals and families will lose dental benefits through Commonwealth Care. Although $56 million dollars of services will be eliminated by these cuts, the state will save at most only $11 million. Approximately $35 million in matching... Read more »

Representative Scibak: Oral Health is a Really Great Bet

At the State House Monday, the Better Oral Health for Massachusetts Coalition launched a 5 year plan to improve oral health for all residents of Massachusetts.  The speakers included Representative John Scibak, Dr. Lauren Smith, the Medical Director of Massachusetts Department of Public Health and Dr. Lynda Young, Vice-President of the Massachusetts Medical Society.  Representative Scibak, House Chair for the Oral Health Legislative Caucus, spoke to the underlying issues that limit access to oral health prevention and treatment in Massachusetts, such as race, income and geography.  However,... Read more »

Oral Health Drop-a-Day: The Doorknob

HCFA’s oral health team intensified their efforts to keep MassHealth adult dental benefits in the FY 2011 budget by kicking off a “drop a day” campaign at the StateHouse. Today’s featured drop: THE DOORKNOB This is not a dentist. Extractions are not adequate oral health care. Preventive care and extractions are NOT enough for the 700,000 Massachusetts residents with MassHealth dental benefits. Amputation is not the first course of treatment offered for a diabetic. Doorknob dentistry shouldn't be the answer to dental care for Massachusetts residents. Protect MassHealth adult dental benefits in... Read more »

Oral Health Drop-a-Day: The Blender

HCFA’s oral health team intensified their efforts to keep MassHealth adult dental benefits in the FY 2011 budget by kicking off a “drop a day” campaign at the StateHouse. Today’s featured drop: THE BLENDER Massachusetts residents shouldn’t need a blender to eat because they don’t have dental coverage. MassHealth adult dental provides critical oral health care to approximately 700,000 Massachusetts residents, including more than 120,000 low-income seniors and 180,000 disabled individuals. Lack of access to affordable oral health care leads to pain and suffering, and prevents people from... Read more »

Proposed Dental Cuts In Massachusetts Threaten Health Of Our Communities: Lessons Learned From California

Given the current economic climate, states are searching for ways to cut back costs.  Eight months ago, California made drastic cuts to dental benefits for adult Medicaid recipients, leaving 3 million poor and disabled Californians uninsured for dental cleanings, exams, filings, root canals and dentures.  Massachusetts threatens to follow their lead with similar cuts.  Read more »

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