Try digitalPLUS for 10 days for only $0.99

Opinion

News Opinion

Affordable dental care for children needed

Thank you for placing John Fritze's article on children's dental insurance on your front page ("Concerns rise over cost of child dental insurance," March 22). I applaud U.S. Sen. Ben Cardin and his continued focus on the importance of oral health care access for our children. As reported by the Surgeon General 13 years ago, tooth decay is the most common chronic childhood disease. Nearly 80 percent of the disease is borne by about 25 percent of our population. These are the children who need the essential health benefits the most, and they are the ones most likely to be vulnerable to delays in enrollment and inability to utilize dental services if their parents cannot afford to pay for coverage.

The final rule released from the Department of Health and Human Services eliminates the mandate for pediatric dental benefits and stipulates a maximum out-of-pocket limit per child that might prove burdensome to many families not covered by private insurance or Medicaid. Although individuals younger than age 19 will be eligible for dental benefits, if the care is not affordable, it will not be readily attainable. Consequently, families may make the difficult decision not to enroll in a dental plan for their children.

The thoughtful proposal generated from Senator Cardin and his colleagues seems to request that the out-of-pocket expenses be calculated according to family income, and that amount be deducted from the amount of the health exchange's medical plan.

In whatever fashion the stand-alone dental benefits are constructed, they should not pose a financial or administrative impediment to families. Continued collaboration by consumers, organized dentistry, third party payers and policymakers can lead us to an effective common ground that integrates access to dental care with fiscal reality. Optimum oral health and oral health care for our nation's children are too important to be left on the sidelines.

Leslie E. Grant, D.D.S., Catonsville

Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun
Related Content
  • Dixon's return

    Dixon's return

    Given the riots after Freddie Gray's death, the ensuing spike in violent crime and all the systemic economic, educational and social problems that have been brought to light as a result, Baltimore could assuredly use an election. We need a real conversation about this city's leadership, and we...

  • The burdens of being black

    The burdens of being black

    I was born human more than a half century ago but also birthed with the burden of being black. I discovered racial discrimination early in life. I grew up among the black poor in Hartford, where a pattern of housing segregation prevailed. One city, but separated North end and South end on the basis...

  • Montgomery's sick leave experiment

    Montgomery's sick leave experiment

    Long before there was a statewide ban on smoking in restaurants, Montgomery County adopted such a restriction when it was still a pretty controversial step to take. Before the Maryland General Assembly approved widespread use of cameras to enforce traffic laws, Montgomery County already had them...

  • Illegal fireworks penalties [Poll]

    Illegal fireworks penalties [Poll]

    Should the penalty for using and possessing illegal personal fireworks, currently a $250 fine, be increased?

  • Partnerships improve health care in Maryland

    Partnerships improve health care in Maryland

    For decades, as health care costs continued to spiral upward and patients were stymied by an increasingly fragmented health care system, policy leaders, politicians and front-line caregivers strained to find a better way to care for people.

  • Gerrymandering reform: putting the interests of the people before the party

    Gerrymandering reform: putting the interests of the people before the party

    Last week the Supreme Court paved the way for fundamental gerrymandering reform by upholding redistricting commissions that are independent of state legislatures in its decision in Arizona State Legislature v. Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission. Gov. Larry Hogan now has a historic opportunity...

Comments
Loading

73°