A Healthy Blog

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

Oral Health

Business has Role to Play in Kids' Oral Health

Richard C. Lord, President and CEO of Associated Industries of Massachusetts, stated his strong support for oral health in the Boston Globe last Friday. In the final Watch Your Mouth advertorial of the year, he declared that “business owners in Massachusetts have diverse needs and interests, but we all have one thing in common: we need a capable and healthy workforce to make our businesses successful.” To read the full message, click here (pdf). To learn more about the Watch Your Mouth Campaign, go to www.WatchYourMouth.org or contact Christine Keeves, Oral Health Communications Coordinator,... Read more »

An Uneven Distribution of Oral Health Care

A recent Policy Brief on a Massachusetts Health Reform Survey funded by Blue Cross Blue Shield examined “Access to and Affordability of Care in Massachusetts as of Fall 2008: Geographic and Racial/Ethnic Differences”. Oral health is an important part of overall health, and dental disease is associated with other chronic diseases such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and preterm birth. The survey looked closely at access to oral health services, and found large disparities in dental care visits by region as well as race/ethnicity. Highlights of the report include: Read more »

Senate Approves Sales, Alcohol Tax Increases; Some Funds Targeted to Health

Tuesday evening, the Senate matched the House's approval of a 1.25-cent increase in the sales tax, and agreed to extend the sales tax to alcoholic beverages. We applaud the 29 Senators who voted for the sales tax increase, and congratulate Senators Walsh and Tolman who tirelessly pushed extending the sales tax to alcohol as part of an effort to adequately fund substance abuse programs. As part of the vote, the Senate leadership distributed a list of budget cut restorations that will paid for by the increased revenue. The restorations included a number of important health-related priorities of... Read more »

Watch, and then Call: "There's Nothing More Hurtful And Regressive Than A Budget Cut"

First, please watch the video below, highlights from today's inspirational, packed "Stop The Cuts" rally at the State House. The speakers include Harris Gruman of SEIU and the Stop the Cuts Coalition; Lisa Wong, Mayor of Fitchburg; John Bennett of Mass Senior Action; and Lynn Norris of Neighbor to Neighbor. Next, call your State Senator (not sure who that is? look it up here) and urge him or her to support expanded revenues and HCFA's key budget amendments to restore critical health care programs. The Senate will be starting its budget debate on Tuesday. Among the Senate budget amendments... Read more »

Action Alert: Protect the Unguarded Gate in the Healthcare Debate

The unguarded gate is your mouth, and the issue is the state Senate budget proposal to eliminate adult dental benefits in the MassHealth and CommCare programs. We reprinted testimony on a near-death experience caused by the lack of dental care here a few days ago. Here's what we reported from a 2005 hearing: Read more »

What's Not in the Senate Budget Proposal (UPDATED)

The Senate Ways and Means Committee released its version of the FY10 state budget today (text here), which even Committee Chair Panagiotakos described as "draconian.” The key question will be whether the Senate joins the House in embracing new revenue provisions critical to maintaining vital services. With tax revenue declining, the Senate based its budget on a tax revenue estimates at $17.989 billion, $1.54 billion less than the estimate used by the House and the Governor. HCFA will be joining hundreds of other groups next Monday at noon to call for new revenues. Or join the ONE... Read more »

Once Again: Senate Budget Axes Dental Coverage

We'll have a more-detailed analysis of the devastating health-related cuts in the Senate Ways and Means budget later (for now, see the Mass Budget and Policy Center's always-excellent summary). But one of the most disappointing revelations this morning is the Senate's counterproductive proposal to eliminate coverage for dental care to over 600,000 adults and seniors on MassHealth. This was the tack taken by the Swift administration in 2002, and reversed by the legislature (overriding Governor Romney's veto) as part of health reform. Healthy Blog regulars don't have to be reminded about the... Read more »

Athol Stands Up For Community Oral Health (and so does the Mass legislature)

On Monday, voters in the town of Athol took a stand to protect public health. For over 50 years, residents of Athol have been receiving the benefits of community water fluoridation, and the town will continue to benefit after voters overwhelmingly rejected a motion to cease the practice. Athol voters know that adding fluoride to the public water supply is safe, and know that it is essential to improving everyone’s health because of the link between oral health and overall health. Children with poor oral health have trouble concentrating in school. As adults, chronic oral infections lead to... Read more »

Massachusetts Health Policy Forum Presents… An Oral Health Forum

When it comes to oral health, Surgeon General David Satcher said it best with the statement: “the mouth is the gateway to the rest of the body.” To reinforce Satcher’s words of wisdom, our colleagues at the Massachusetts Health Policy Forum (MHPF), a non-profit organization engaging health care leaders in discussion on critical health policy challenges facing the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, will be hosting an oral health forum that puts the mouth back in the rest of the body. The forum will be held at the Omni Parker House in Boston on June 16 from 8:30- 12:00pm. Funded by the... Read more »

Community Forums on Tobacco Prevention and Oral Health

Ever hear someone share their story on the radio and been moved to take action? Wonder what it’s like to talk with your legislators about an issue that’s important to you? Want to learn how to write a successful letter to the editor, or pitch a story to a reporter? Here’s your chance to meet people like you, and to learn about the power of advocacy! You’re invited to a community forum on tobacco prevention and oral health. The forums are free to attend, children-friendly, and food will be served! Each forum will feature a panel presentation with a lawmaker and a media representative. Forums... Read more »

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