August 15, 2018

Action for Dental Health Act brings much needed attention to oral health issues

Melissa Burroughs

Oral Health Campaign Manager

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.

August 7, 2018

Why Medicare Should Cover Oral Health: Cheryl's Story

Michelle Loo

Story Bank Associate

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. 

Issue Brief
July 2018

Treating Pain Is Not Enough: Why States’ Emergency-Only Dental Benefits Fall Short

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.

July 3, 2018

In Cynical Move, Kentucky Governor Bevin Cuts Vision and Dental Care to Retaliate Against Court’s Medicaid Ruling

Patrick Willard

Senior Director of State and National Strategic Partnerships

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.

March 30, 2018

Troubling Trends for Oral Health in Medicaid Waivers

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. 

March 27, 2018

Moving for Dental Care: Maria’s Story

Michelle Loo

Story Bank Associate

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. 

Fact Sheet
March 2018

How Medicaid Waivers Could Limit Access to Oral Health Care

States can propose changes to their Medicaid programs using  1115 waivers that require approval from the federal government. Recently, many states are using these waivers to erect barriers to their residents getting the coverage and care they need—including oral health coverage and care. 
Instead of using the waivers to pursue positive innovations, many of these waivers would reduce oral health access. Luckily, oral health advocates can play an important role in promoting good waivers and stopping harmful ones. Use this factsheet to learn more about how certain waiver elements effect oral health access and talking points that advocates can use to raise these issues with policy makers.


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