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News Opinion

New administration rules put dental care for poor children at risk

We want to thank reporter John Fritze for his article laying out the issue of out-of-pocket costs for child dental care insurance through the Maryland Health Benefit Exchange ("Advocates, insurers duel over cost of child dental coverage," March 21).

The new rules by the Obama administration perhaps unintentionally eliminate the general principle of the Affordable Care Act that dental care is an essential health benefit for children. The new rule will permit pediatric dental insurance plans to charge a maximum of $1,000 per child in out-of-pocket costs and up to $2,000 for a family.

For a family of limited means, this will make dental care unaffordable, thus reducing access to care for children who get their health coverage through the exchange.

The Maryland Dental Action Coalition was formed after the 2007 death of a 12-year-old Prince George's boy due to a dental infection. Its primary mission is to increase access to oral health care, prevent oral disease and improve the quality of dental services.

If the new rules are not addressed by the state's health exchange, the great improvements made over the past few years regarding oral health care for poor Maryland children will be at risk.

Carol Caiazzo, Columbia

The writer chairs the board of the Maryland Dental Action Coalition.

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