11/27/2017

Protect dental coverage for millions: Urge your representatives to extend CHIP funding


CDA is calling on dentists throughout the state to act now to protect dental and health care coverage for millions of children and pregnant women in California. The Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) provides affordable, pediatric-appropriate health coverage to nearly 9 million children nationwide, including 2 million children and pregnant women in California. CHIP coverage provides important preventive services including well-child check-ups, immunizations, and dental care.

Despite broad bipartisan support, Congress neglected to take action to extend CHIP funding before it expired Sept. 30. There is no such thing as “safely delaying” action on CHIP. The consequences of Congress’ delay are creating stressful uncertainty for states and families across the country.

California’s CHIP funding will run out next month and the state will be confronted with a huge budget gap for CHIP children’s Medi-Cal coverage, potentially as much as $1 billion dollars or more.

CDA is calling on dentists to act now to protect dental and health care coverage for millions of children and pregnant women in California! Contact your senators and representative in Congress quickly and easily to urge them to take swift action to extend CHIP funding. For your convenience, you may copy and paste the language below into the email template.

Dear Senator XXXX,

The California Dental Association (CDA) and its 27,000 member dentists are committed to ensuring access to oral health services for all populations, including the children and pregnant women covered by Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).

While our association was encouraged by the announcement that bipartisan efforts to craft CHIP reauthorization legislation were underway, I now know those efforts have stalled. I urge you and your fellow senators to pass your CHIP reauthorization bill now so that CHIP funding is authorized before vital health services are suspended because states are running out of money for the program.

Of the more than 9 million children covered by CHIP, over 2 million of those are California children. As a result of their coverage, they benefit from access to oral health services. Tooth decay remains the most common chronic condition among children and adolescents, impacting school performance and attendance. A child’s oral health problems can continue on into adulthood impacting employability, military readiness, and overall health status.

On behalf of the 2 million children and pregnant women covered by CHIP and the dentists who serve them, I request that the Senate pass its version of CHIP reauthorization now.



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In response to goals identified in the draft California State Oral Health Plan, CDA this year co-sponsored Senate Bill 379, co-authored by Toni Atkins. The bill makes statutory updates that will facilitate the efficient collection of oral health data at schools. SB 379 also enables schools to facilitate screenings by streamlining the consent process for on-site oral health assessments.

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