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A Statewide effort giving Vermonters a voice for better access to affordable oral health care

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: Sheila Reed, Voices for Vermont’s Children (802) 229-6377 DATE: September 13, 2012

Vermont Coalition Asks for adult oral health benefit in Exchange Health Care Reform must include oral health The Vermont Oral Health Care for All Coalition issued a call for the Green Mountain Care Board to add oral health benefits for adults to the Essential Benefits package for the Health Care Exchange at a press conference today. Health care providers spoke of the importance of oral health to overall health and shared stories of the many Vermonters they see each day in great need of oral health care. “Every day I see patients that have severe tooth decay including babies and children as well as their parents and grandparents. A common theme that I hear from many of these patients is that they cannot access dental care.” Said Dr. Kim Bruno, a family practice physician from Lamoille County. Oral health is central to overall health, yet tens of thousands of Vermonters do not have access to preventative or routine dental care. While the state has made great strides in extending affordable health care to low and middle-income Vermonters, lack of access to affordable oral health care for everyone is a long-neglected systemic issue. A significant number of Vermonters do not have dental insurance coverage, and for those that do, high costs make badly needed dental care unattainable for many. In 2009, the most common care not received in Vermont due to cost was dental care, with more than 62,000 Vermonters – both insured and uninsured – reporting not getting dental care because they could not afford it.i Time and again, Vermont has been recognized as a leader in health care reform in the nation. It is time for us to bring that same spirit of innovation and collaboration to providing accessible and affordable oral health care for all Vermonters by including dental benefits for adults in the Health Care Exchange.

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BISCHA 2009 Household Health Insurance Survey