Healthcare Coalition Asks Senate to Continue Medicaid Support

Dentistry Today


As the federal government debates healthcare and the budget, the Partnership for Medicaid has sent a letter to Orrin Hatch, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, advocating maintenance of Medicaid’s current structure and financing. The ADA and American Dental Education Association both are among the 21 healthcare groups in the organization, which notes that Medicaid serves more than 70 million low-income children, pregnant women, individuals, seniors, people with disabilities, and the medically complex. 

“Policies designed to meet fiscal objectives do not strengthen the Medicaid program, nor do they guarantee access to care,” the letter stated. “We are united in our concern over policy proposals that represent a significant shift in the cost of the Medicaid program to states, local governments, providers, and beneficiaries. We urge the Senate to ensure that future financing of Medicaid-covered services is sufficient to secure timely access to high quality, necessary care for Medicaid enrollees.”

States currently are required to provide dental benefits to children covered by Medicaid and by the Children’s Health Insurance Program. Dental services for children must minimally include relief of pain and infections, restoration of teeth, and maintenance of dental health. However, states may choose whether to provide dental benefits for adults on Medicaid. While most states provide at least emergency dental services for adults, fewer than half now provide comprehensive dental care. There are no minimum requirements for adult dental coverage.

“The Partnership encourages members of Congress to focus on ways to enhance and preserve the Medicaid program. In particular, the Partnership urges Congress to consider proposals that develop a national Medicaid quality data reporting system,” the letter stated. “A uniform, state-level reporting mechanism for the Medicaid program would ensure program efficiency and would provide a national perspective that could create a pathway for innovation. The Partnership also supports the improvement of program eligibility pathways.” 

Furthermore, the Partnership noted Hatch’s desire for an open process and urged him to bring healthcare legislation through the Finance Committee for open, bipartisan hearings and markup, enabling stakeholders to provide feedback. Previously, the Partnership announced its opposition to the American Health Care Act as amended by the House of Representatives, which includes a proposal to cute Medicaid funding by more than $800 million, though this position was not unanimously endorsed by the group’s member organizations.

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