Boston. – “Health Care For All is pleased that Governor Baker signed the FY21 budget that takes important steps to support health care programs, particularly during the COVID pandemic. However, we are disappointed he vetoed the full restoration of MassHealth adult dental benefits, which included reinstating coverage for root canals and crowns. Advocates have been working for ten years to reinstate these benefits, and it is time to make these oral health care services available to people on MassHealth who need them.
“Good oral health is a critical component of a person’s overall health and well-being across the age spectrum. Without access and coverage of appropriate dental care, many people living with chronic illnesses such as diabetes or hypertension see their conditions worsen, and dental treatment becomes increasingly more invasive and costly the longer it is delayed.
“In 2010, significant state budget shortfalls negatively impacted the MassHealth adult dental program, severely limiting coverage to dental cleanings and extractions only. These budget cuts were devastating for many Massachusetts residents, particularly those who were already underserved and facing multiple barriers to accessing timely and affordable dental care. In subsequent years, there has been incremental restoration of MassHealth coverage for adult dental services, including fillings, full denture and treatment of gum disease. Including access to root canals and crowns would mean restoring services to the level prior to 2010.
“We encourage the legislature to override the veto issued by the Governor and move ahead with a budget for FY21 that includes the restoration of full dental benefits for adult MassHealth beneficiaries.”