Northwest Voices | Letters to the Editor
Dental coverage should be included in Medicaid expansion
Columnist Lance Dickie is right to recognize the benefits of Medicaid expansion [“Medicaid expansion: Do the math,” Opinion, Feb. 1].
With expansion, the state has another unique opportunity. If dental coverage is included in the Medicaid expansion, we can provide dental care to hundreds of thousands of low-income residents who will be newly eligible for Medicaid, and the federal government will cover 100 percent of the cost.
For this to happen, the Legislature needs to restore dental coverage this year for the currently eligible Medicaid adults. Dental care for low-income Washington residents was eliminated by the Legislature in 2011.
Too often, low-income residents with dental pain go to expensive emergency rooms because they have few options for care. Plus, dental disease affects overall health and is especially problematic for people with diabetes. Good oral health helps diabetics stay healthy and out of the hospital, saving money for taxpayers.
Dental coverage is a wise investment that will help people stay healthy and productive. It is hard for people to get jobs if they’re missing teeth, have obvious dental disease or are in constant pain.
The Legislature should restore dental coverage for low-income adults and fully capture the federal funding that is available to provide health care for our state’s citizens.
--Mark Secord, CEO, Neighborcare Health, Seattle