The Turkey Diaries I: State Stiffs Poor Moms on Dental Care

HCFA, Health Law Advocates, and the Mass. Law Reform Institute are putting Governor Mitt Romney on notice: reinstate dental services for poor pregnant women and mothers or face a lawsuit.

In July, Governor Romney signed the fiscal year 2006 state budget with a legislative mandate to reinstate MassHealth dental services for pregnant women and mothers with children up to age three. After four and one half months of inaction, we are threatening legal action if the Administration drags its feet any longer.

In a letter to Governor Romney sent today, we asked Gov. Romney to “implement the legislature’s mandate to restore dental coverage to eligible women promptly to avoid legal action.”

Our demand letter describes the acute discomfort of a young pregnant mother who has been denied dental care required by law. “One of my clients, who is both pregnant and has a child under age three, has had two teeth pulled since July for lack of comprehensive dental coverage. Failing to provide basic dental care to pregnant women and new mothers is putting both the women and their newborns and toddlers at risk,” wrote MLRI attorney Victoria Pulos.

“Implementing this legislatively mandated coverage is a straightforward administrative process’” notes HLA attorney Leslie Storm. “If the state does not comply with the law by December 6, 2005, we will file a civil action on behalf of Health Care For All and all mothers who are affected.”

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