Join us in the Fight to Restore MassHealth Dental!

As the Senate finished their budget debate at 2:45 this morning, all amendments that included a significant amount of money were eliminated, including Senator Chandler’s amendment to protect MassHealth adult dental benefits.

Advocates for oral health put up a fantastic fight, ensuring that at the very least, Senators understand that oral health is a crucial piece of overall health, and that full MassHealth adult dental benefits must be reinstated as quickly as possible. Together with dedicated partners, we:
• We completed another drop-a-day campaign to deliver materials to the state house, including numerous fact sheets.
• The Oral Health and ACT!! teams combined forces to deliver more than 1,000 post cards to the state house, making special trips to the offices for Senator Petrucelli and Senator O’Leary. Within a few hours of our visit, Senator O’Leary contacted Senator Chandler to sign on to her adult dental amendment. See a slideshow here
• We went door-to-door to build the cosponsor lists and secured an impressive 17 cosponsors – more than 40% of the Senate!
• In the midst of the Senate debate we were successful in getting fifteen dental students and professors from Boston University and Tufts Dental Schools. In just two hours they managed to cover every office in the Senate, and were very well received by a number of offices.
• The Oral Health, ACT!!, and HelpLine teams worked together to send postcards to all 150 HelpLine callers who were approved for MassHealth in the last year, informing them of the proposed cuts and urging them to call their Senator.
• Throughout the budget process we worked with partners to seize a number of media opportunities, resulting in numerous LTEs throughout the state and an OpEd in Bay Windows, all focused on the importance of access to oral health care.
• The blog was busy with people chit-chatting and sharing news about our progress.
• Perhaps most importantly, each office noted that they’d been inundated with calls about adult dental – an encouraging sign that our message is being heard.

Although we did not get the news we were hoping for in the Senate, we have built up some amazing momentum due to the hard work of our dedicated Taskforce and other partners. This will be a key component as we transition to the fight for full restoration of MassHealth adult dental benefits.

If you’d like to get involved, please join us for the next meeting of the Oral Health Advocacy Taskforce: Tuesday, July 20, 2010, 10:00 – 12:00 Noon, Location TBD- we will begin talking about our campaign to restore MassHealth adult dental benefits. Please RSVP to Courtney at cchelo@hcfama.org.

Christine Keeves
Oral Health Communications Coordinator

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6 Responses to Join us in the Fight to Restore MassHealth Dental!

  1. valerie arsenault says:

    I am a 69 year old woman who despite health issures still is working so as not to go on ssi. I do have a very low income and qu alify for Masshealth. As my front teeth need work that was just approved but no time to start the work (the dentists are straight out to help as many as possible before 7/1, I will not be able to get this done. The powers that be need to remember people with broken, decayed or missing front teeth are basically unemployable and will add to the welfare burden. Toothless people cannot chew properly and get all sorts of digestive troubles necessitating medical tests, surgeries, etc and poor nutrition from eating only soft foods also ruins the digestive tract.. Who can I write to, to hope this foolish decision to stop adult benefits is turned over?? Also regarding the childrens benefits… I saw a llittle boy of about 5 or 6 years old crying in the dentist office. Inside his mouth just about all of his teeth, which are all babyteeth at this age, were crowned with what looked like stainless steel crowns…. what did this cost… and whats the sense when they will just fall out?? childrens dental “palaces” offering free transportation, babysitting for siblings, video games, free pizza coupons, etc etc have been opening in the low income cities.. wake up Masshealth.. lets limit work on baby teeth and give poor adults that want to look and be healthy and presentable a break here…

  2. Chris says:

    this is rediculous. now I can’t go to one of the thousands of 37 letter last named dentists who either just got thier license or are 99 years old.. all of which got there degree from some foreign university Ive never heard of… tragedy I say. tragedy. someone want to post a link to these federal adult dental location the news articles are talking about.

  3. David says:

    Well, I heard from a Budget Director from one of the Senators that the Governor cannot add spend items back on the budget – he can only veto apparently.

  4. Paul says:

    I will show up for the Rally. At least then I feel that I have done my part.

  5. Josh says:

    I certainly hope that this is not a political ploy by Patrick to come sweeping in at the last minute and save the program, because that would have caused needless months of worry from a lot of people. I hope he does the right thing and restores the program.

  6. David says:

    Not sure why we could not get support from just 4 senators. In any case, does anyone know if the benefits will be restored mid-year or do we have to wait for the next budget?

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