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ADA Calls for All Stakeholders to Work Together to Help Medicaid
Date:2/14/2008

Fulfill its Mission to Provide Dental Care to Underserved Populations

WASHINGTON, Feb. 14 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The American Dental Association (ADA) called on all concerned public agencies and private parties to work together to help Medicaid fulfill its mission to provide dental care to vulnerable populations, particularly low-income children.

In a statement provided today to the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform Subcommittee on Domestic Policy, the ADA called on health professionals, policymakers, parents and others to work to remove barriers that block access to oral health care services.

The ADA statement comes on the eve of the anniversary of the death of 12-year-old Prince George's County, Md., boy from complications arising from an untreated oral abscess that spread to his brain. The death of Deamonte Driver, whose family had lost their Medicaid benefits, galvanized public and congressional attention to the problems associated with lack of access to oral health care.

But a year later, public concern and congressional outrage have not yielded significant results.

"Fundamental changes to the Medicaid program are long overdue to ensure that low-income children have the same access to oral health care services that most Americans enjoy," said ADA President Mark Feldman. "It is time to help Medicaid meet its obligation to help vulnerable groups get necessary services."

While remaining committed to much more sweeping changes, the ADA, for the purposes of this hearing, urged the passage of two critical pieces of legislation.

The "Essential Oral Health Care Act" (H.R. 2472), sponsored by Reps. Albert Wynn (D-Md.) and Mike Simpson (R-Idaho) would draw more private practicing dentists into Medicaid and the State Children's Health Insurance Program by significantly increasing federal matching funds for states to improve their plans.

Second, Rep. Elijah Cummings' (D-Md.)
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SOURCE American Dental Association
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