This blog was originally posted by the Kentucky Oral Health Coalition.  

As the Kentucky legislature considers hundreds of bills and prioritizes investments in the next biennial state budget, it’s imperative that we as a Commonwealth ensure that all Kentuckians, including our youngest, have access to the support they need for their healthy development – and a healthy mouth. We know that health impacts every aspect of a child’s life and is a key component of overall child well-being.

While celebrating February as National Children’s Dental Health Month, we’re emphasizing that the strong connection between good oral health and overall health demonstrates how important policies and budget investment in health are for children’s oral health in Kentucky.

Kentucky kids are relying on our lawmakers to prioritize their health and well-being to grow into healthy, productive adults who contribute to a strong Kentucky workforce. One of the core functions of the Kentucky Oral Health Coalition is advocating for policies and budget priorities that are good for oral health in Kentucky. KOHC supports the health and budget priorities outlined on the Blueprint for Kentucky’s Children and engages in advocacy efforts for increased oral health access, literacy, and improved outcomes to create systemic change within the health delivery system.

You can follow along with current bills filed in the General Assembly on the Kentucky Youth Advocates Bill Tracker, and the summary of KOHC priorities below:

Senate Bill 87 – Requires the Department for Medicaid Services to create a minimum fee schedule for covered dental services and require that managed care organizations reimburse dental service providers in an amount at least equal to the fee-for-service rate for the same covered service.

Senate Bill 166 – Allows local city and county governments to control the use, sale, marketing, and distribution of tobacco products.

House Bill 174 – Extends Medicaid eligibility for new mothers for up to 12 months postpartum.

    • In addition to this legislation, we are advocating for increased Medicaid dollars to be included in the state budget to fund this benefit extension that would provide new mothers with a full continuum of care, including dental services.

House Bill 370 – Establishes a patient transparency within dental benefits.

Senate Resolution 101 – A resolution recognizing February 8, 2022, as Children’s Oral Health Awareness Day.

In addition to the positive bills outlined above, KOHC also works to prevent the passage of harmful bills. One example is an effort to make community water fluoridation programs optional, a measure that is in House Bill 361.

KOHC will continue to monitor these bills and provide updates as the legislative session continues. Follow along on KOHC’s Facebook and Twitter.