NH expands Medicaid to include dental benefits for adults

After years of debate at the State House in Concord, New Hampshire is expanding Medicaid to include dental benefits for adults.Supporters said the move is a win-win for public health and taxpayers over the long term.Gov. Chris Sununu signed into law Friday a dental benefit for adults under the state’s Medicaid program. The legislation passed this session with bipartisan support.”This is just a huge, huge day for New Hampshire and a very big bipartisan solution to a problem we’ve all long recognized,” said state Sen. Cindy Rosenwald, D-Nashua.The roughly $21 million commitment from the state, boosted by federal funding, will get the program up and running for the next three years, giving more than 100,000 Medicaid recipients access to dental care.”Overall health is really where we’re going to see the biggest impact,” said dentist Dr. Laurie Rosato. “Our goal is to keep people out of the emergency rooms.”Previously, Medicaid only covered emergency dental care, so patients often waited until they had severe problems requiring costly trips to the emergency room. Not only is the new benefit expected to reduce those costs, but advocates said preventative oral care will improve overall health and help recipients maintain employment.Supporters said it’s also a win for people living with disabilities. Last year, News 9 profiled Chloe Bertrand, an adult who was diagnosed with autism at age 4 and lives with rare health conditions.While she currently has dental benefits through her family, they have to plan for a time when she won’t have that help, and her mother said they’re relieved the Medicaid plan will be there.”It means everything to me,” said her mother, Jennifer Bertrand. “While we’re able to support what she needs right now, I’m not going to live forever, and the day’s going to come when she’s going to be needing this 100%.”Republican Senate Majority Leader Jeb Bradley said he’s hopeful getting the legislation across the finish line is a positive indicator for an even bigger health care vote next year.”We were able to get it done because we worked together, and I’m hopeful for Medicaid expansion being reauthorized again next year,” he said. “This is a good start on that, too.”

After years of debate at the State House in Concord, New Hampshire is expanding Medicaid to include dental benefits for adults.

Supporters said the move is a win-win for public health and taxpayers over the long term.

Gov. Chris Sununu signed into law Friday a dental benefit for adults under the state’s Medicaid program. The legislation passed this session with bipartisan support.

“This is just a huge, huge day for New Hampshire and a very big bipartisan solution to a problem we’ve all long recognized,” said state Sen. Cindy Rosenwald, D-Nashua.

The roughly $21 million commitment from the state, boosted by federal funding, will get the program up and running for the next three years, giving more than 100,000 Medicaid recipients access to dental care.

“Overall health is really where we’re going to see the biggest impact,” said dentist Dr. Laurie Rosato. “Our goal is to keep people out of the emergency rooms.”

Previously, Medicaid only covered emergency dental care, so patients often waited until they had severe problems requiring costly trips to the emergency room. Not only is the new benefit expected to reduce those costs, but advocates said preventative oral care will improve overall health and help recipients maintain employment.

Supporters said it’s also a win for people living with disabilities. Last year, News 9 profiled Chloe Bertrand, an adult who was diagnosed with autism at age 4 and lives with rare health conditions.

While she currently has dental benefits through her family, they have to plan for a time when she won’t have that help, and her mother said they’re relieved the Medicaid plan will be there.

“It means everything to me,” said her mother, Jennifer Bertrand. “While we’re able to support what she needs right now, I’m not going to live forever, and the day’s going to come when she’s going to be needing this 100%.”

Republican Senate Majority Leader Jeb Bradley said he’s hopeful getting the legislation across the finish line is a positive indicator for an even bigger health care vote next year.

“We were able to get it done because we worked together, and I’m hopeful for Medicaid expansion being reauthorized again next year,” he said. “This is a good start on that, too.”

Source

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.