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Medicaid Dental Benefits Are Woefully Inadequate in Most States

In the United States healthcare system, dental and medical health are treated in separate silos, regardless of the fact that oral and systemic health are intrinsically linked. This longtime policy has made accessing dental care difficult or impossible for those of low socioeconomic status, patients with disabilities, individuals of color, and Tribal and rural communities, according to Myechia Minter-Jordan, MD, MBA, president of CareQuest Institute for Oral Health. In an article for STAT News, Minter-Jordan suggests the following changes to Medicaid to increase access to care for vulnerable populations:

  1. Make oral healthcare a required benefit for all adults covered by Medicaid.
  2. Define what is required within dental benefits covered by Medicaid.
  3. Follow the examples created by those states that have already included dental benefits into Medicaid coverage.

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