mulroe-dentalSenator John G. Mulroe (D-10) this week voted to restore the funding of dental service coverage to low-income adults on Medicaid. 

The SMART Act, a 2012 effort to save the state money, eliminated adult dental coverage for Medicaid except in cases of emergency.

Mulroe, who is Chairman of the Senate Public Health Committee and co-sponsored the legislation to restore dental coverage, feels that preventative care is a far more fiscally responsible option than costly emergency room visits for severe dental emergencies.

“Preventative care is cheaper than emergency care,” Mulroe said.  “In my opinion, it’s better to pay the costs associated with filling a cavity than to pay for an emergency room visit to deal with a rotten tooth that has to be extracted, which could have been prevented by a routine visit to the dentist. This change will save money in the long run.”

Restoring dental services will not only provide adequate preventative care to adult Medicaid recipients, it will also provide teaching opportunities for the many dental schools within our state.

In addition to the impact these reductions have had on Medicaid recipients, the cuts to the adult dental program have also had a significant impact on the state’s dental schools. Dental school patients are primarily adult Medicaid recipients.  The removal of adult dental coverage has caused dental schools to lose a huge portion of their funding, as well as a large pool of their patients, causing students to miss out on educational experiences and possibly procedures needed for graduation.

“The unintended consequence of the state trying to save money by cutting Medicaid benefits is a future generation of dentists that are not adequately prepared for work in their field,” Mulroe continued.  “I don’t think anyone wants to see that happen.”

The dental service restoration bill will now move to the Illinois House for a final vote.

Category: News Releases

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