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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Oral Health Communications Coordinator