Dec. 13, 2023

HARRISBURG – Legislation sponsored by Rep. Valerie Gaydos (R-Allegheny) that would restore dental coverage for Medical Assistance recipients today passed the House of Representatives.

Specifically, House Bill 1417 would ensure Medical Assistance provides a dental benefit package that includes those coverages that existed before cuts were made in 2011 without removing any existing dental coverage.

“Good dental care is good health care and is critical to workforce development,” said Gaydos. “Cuts in Medical Assistance that occurred in 2011 did not save money. It actually costs the Commonwealth more when poor dental health leads to chronic and costly diseases. Overall, this legislation is a critical addition around essential care of the constituents of our Commonwealth.”

Cuts made in 2011 to dental coverage under the state’s Medical Assistance program prevent many low-income Pennsylvanians from receiving the oral health care they need. The current plan provides coverage for routine cleanings and fillings, but services like root canals, periodontal disease work and emergency exams were eliminated out of concern for cost.

Gaydos has been working with Reps. Gina H. Curry (D-Delaware) and Emily Kinkead (D-Allegheny) on the bipartisan legislation.

“Pennsylvania has been failing its most vulnerable residents and that must be corrected,” said Gaydos. “Studies have shown the significance of teeth and good oral hygiene goes well beyond physical health, aesthetics or nutrition. It plays a strategic role as a key element for labor inclusion. Good teeth equals better opportunities for job applicants.”

House Bill 1417 now moves onto the Senate for consideration.

To view or download a broadcast-quality video of Gaydos’ comments before the vote, visit here.

Representative Valerie Gaydos
44th Legislative District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives

Media Contact: Rick Leiner
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