Families USA has identified some of the biggest legislative victories for health care in the 2018 state legislative sessions.
Nobody wants a root canal, but millions of Americans with mouth pain know it might be their best shot at protecting a tooth and stopping an infection from spreading—if they can afford it. Oral health affects all health and too many people in this country cannot access care. That’s why the Senate is considering the Action for Dental Health Act. But this measure should be the first appointment on our nation’s oral health checkup.
In July, Families USA joined the American Dental Association, Oral Health America, Center for Medicare Advocacy, Justice in Aging, DentaQuest Foundation, Santa Fe Group and other industry leaders, in releasing An Oral Health Benefit in Medicare Part B: It’s Time to Include Oral Health in Health Care, a white paper on the need for Medicare to include dental coverage.
We would like to share just one story about how a Medicare oral health benefit could change someone’s life. Cheryl in Olympia, Washington, has gone nearly 10 years without comprehensive oral health care.
States have great latitude to determine the scope of dental benefits that they will cover for adults through their Medicaid programs. While some states cover comprehensive benefits, others cover emergency dental care only or none at all. This variation in coverage matters. Without adequate dental coverage, people face major barriers to getting care they need to stay healthy. To better understand the consequences of insufficient dental coverage, Families USA conducted a survey of states that cover emergency-only dental services.
In Cynical Move, Kentucky Governor Bevin Cuts Vision and Dental Care to Retaliate Against Court’s Medicaid Ruling
Suppose you wanted to help a homeless veteran find a job, but the vet had some sore teeth and needed glasses. Wouldn’t it make sense to cover the oral health and vision care to help him?
That won’t happen in Kentucky, where state officials abruptly eliminated oral health and vision care for the 460,000 adults who are on the state’s Medicaid program. The decision followed a court ruling a day earlier that struck down a mandate for those on the program to find jobs or lose benefits.
Today, Medicaid faces unique threats, and these threats are happening largely below the radar screen. So far, we have succeeded in averting multiple attempts to erode Medicaid as we know it through federal legislation, but efforts to undermine coverage continue through legally questionable regulatory actions and destructive Medicaid waivers. These Medicaid waivers have the potential to have a profound impact on children, families, and their oral health coverage.
This blog is part of an ongoing series of stories from people across the country who need comprehensive dental coverage, but do not have access to it. Families USA, in partnership with the DentaQuest Foundation, has launched an intensive, multi-faceted, long-term issue advocacy campaign, Oral Health For All, to reduce the barriers to oral health coverage that prevent more than 106 million Americans from have such coverage and getting the care they need.