The 26th Alaska State Legislature, 2009 - 2010||
Press Release: Rep. Mike Hawker
House Passes Hawker Bill to Restore Dental Services
|HB 26 Extends Medicaid Adult Dental Program'S "Preventative Maintenance"|
Posted: March 27, 2009
Contact: Juli Lucky, 465-6820, Legislative Council committee aide
(Juneau) - The Alaska State House today unanimously passed legislation that extends the current Medicaid adult dental program. House Bill (HB) 26, sponsored by Rep. Mike Hawker, R-Anchorage, passed the floor on a vote of 37 to 0.
Passage of the adult dental bill assures that Alaska does not return to the barbaric standard of only providing Medicaid dental services to people experiencing both acute pain and infection.
~ Rep. Mike Hawker
In 2006, the Legislature passed HB 105 which changed the adult dental program in Medicaid from treating only "acute infection and pain" to a more comprehensive program that covered preventative and restorative care. HB 105 included a sunset provision to allow the legislature to reevaluate the program and related costs this year.
HB 26 will repeal the sunset, making the current program permanent.
"Passage of the adult dental bill assures that Alaska does not return to the barbaric standard of only providing Medicaid dental services to people experiencing both acute pain and infection," Hawker said. "We all learned back in kindergarten that preventive dental care was the way to a long, healthy life. We absolutely need to adopt that practice in our Medicaid system."
Approximately 9,300 Alaskans received care through the program through November 2008. By covering exams, fillings, and root canals, the adult dental program allowed these clients to maintain dental health and avoid costly tooth extractions. The program also provided nearly 2,500 full or partial dentures.
Services provided include fillings, root canals and full or partial denture fittings. These procedures allowed many Alaskans to maintain dental health and prevent extractions.
HB 26 now moves to the Alaska State Senate for consideration.