More than 80 consumers, advocates, legislators, and staff flooded the State House Member’s Lounge yesterday, wearing red in support of Restoring Essential Dental benefits to MassHealth.
Kathy Eklund, chair of the Oral Health Advocacy Taskforce (OHAT), kicked off the afternoon by reminding the room that “in order to ensure the health of every community across Commonwealth, including our most vulnerable populations, benefits must be fully restored.”
MassHealth consumer Harriotte Hurie Ranvig shared her story with the assembled crowd, highlighting oral health as a key part of overall health.
William Felix, another MassHealth consumer, shared his story with Health Care For All. “I have a large cavity that I cannot get filled because of the changes in coverage,” he said. “I cannot sleep well, I am stressed, and I’m starting to have stomach problems, all because of the pain. Oral health affects a lot of systemic diseases. I worry not only for my health, but also for the rest of my community.”
Senator Harriette Chandler and Representative John Scibak, co-chairs of the Oral Health Caucus, were on hand to encourage attendees to visit their legislators at the end of the speaking program. They both highlighted the recent success of advocates in getting 94 legislators – nearly half of the whole legislative body – to sign on to a letter supporting MassHealth adult dental restoration.
WWLP in Springfield was on hand to report on the rally, and aired this segment, featuring Representative Scibak and OHAT steering committee member Joan Lowbridge-Sisley, on their nightly news.