After a marathon of negotiations a supplemental budget was approved by the state legislature on Wednesday. The good news is that the budget protects dental coverage for low-income pregnant women, seniors in nursing homes and people with developmental disabilities.
This decision by the legislature to support funding for dental coverage reflects in part an increased understanding that oral health is an essential part of overall health and that dental disease prevention saves money for families, businesses and taxpayers.
The final budget also maintained funding for Community Health Centers, the Basic Health Plan and local public health jurisdictions. All of these programs provide services that benefit the oral health of low-income people.
Finally, the budget protects the health of families and children in Washington by maintaining funding for:
- The Volunteer/Retired Provider Program that provides malpractice insurance for thousands of dentists, hygienists and other healthcare workers who volunteer.
- Apple Health for Kids – provides health coverage (including dental coverage) to all children up to 300 percent of the federal poverty level.
- Maternity support services
Funding for enrollment assistance to ensure eligible children are connected with Apple Health also was included in the budget.
Thanks to everyone who supports efforts to protect the oral health of vulnerable people, including pregnant women and children. Your commitment to oral health improves lives.