MARYLAND- A bill to add adults to the dental care portion of Maryland’s Medicaid has passed the state legislature and heads to Governor Hogans’s desk with a veto-proof majority. SB150, which would add Maryland adults to the list of those who can receive dental services, including diagnostic, preventive, restorative, and periodontal services, for adults whose annual income is at or below 133% of the federal poverty level.
Speaker Pro Tempore Sheree Sample Hughes tells us that equates to a roughly 800 dollar value per person, where before only children in the foster system and certain pregnant women could take advantage of Medicaid to receive dental work.
“The goal is to get to the root literally of the need for preventative dental care for adults using Medicaid,” she said.
She tells us the bill will cover both extensive operations and preventative care such as cleanings, with the purpose to prevent poor dental health and expensive outcomes before they happen.
“That’s the problem we wanted to solve with this legislation was to avoid that and to be able to have access to dental care for citizens to see a dentist regularly and have that proper care and not have to look at major extractions or root canals,” Speaker Pro Tempore Hughes said.
Opponents to the bill say they are concerned about the price tag and impact on the state the measure would have.
“Because of bills like this and recurring expenses that we vote on, the budget is now over 60 billion, and this bill alone originally has a fiscal not of 80 million dollars in the first year,” said Delegate Wayne Hartman.
However, Speaker Pro Tempore Hughes says that’s something the measure already accounted for.
“60 percent of this is going to be part of the federal funds we have been able to secure and only 40 percent is state funds,” she said adding “when we are in a position to help the people this is a time we are able to do it, we want a healthy state a healthy community and providing dental care is a part of this process.”
The bill would come into effect in January of 2023.