The Herald’s editorial board was spot on when it supported the Medicaid expansion and pointed out the many benefits it would bring to low-income Snohomish County residents.
The Legislature has another opportunity with Medicaid expansion. If lawmakers restore dental coverage for currently eligible low-income adults, the federal government will cover 100 percent of the costs for new Medicaid enrollees.
Restoring dental coverage and including it in the services covered in the Medicaid Expansion will ensure that 780,000 low-income adults in our state have access to dental care.
As a dentist in Snohomish, I have seen firsthand the effect that dental disease can have on patients’ overall health. Dental decay and periodontal disease are linked to heart disease, strokes and diabetes. Regular dental care helps people with diabetes control their blood sugar and avoid costly hospitalizations, which saves money for taxpayers. Without dental coverage diabetics on Medicaid cannot access critical dental services.
Restoring adult dental coverage this legislative session is necessary to capture the federal funding available for dental care as part of the Medicaid expansion. It is a wise decision that will leverage federal dollars, improve people’s lives and make our health care system more effective.
Dr. Eve Rutherford
Board Chair, Washington Dental Service Foundation