The News Tribune editorial (3-18) on making dental care more affordable to the poor and those on Medicaid was convincing. Washington state has the opportunity to improve the health of its citizens and receive federal funds to do so. Everyone benefits, when more of us are healthy.
Most of the arguments in the editorial also apply to approving Senate Bill 5433 (House Bill 1516) to create the category of mid-level dental professional: “Abscesses turn . . . into massive bacterial infections . . . Gum disease, untreated, wreaks havoc on diabetics. Without dental care, researchers have found that people suffer higher rates of kidney and heart disease, stroke and blindness.”
People in Alaska and Minnesota get excellent routine and preventive dental care from mid-level dental professionals. Washington colleges want to educate these new providers. Dentists who care for our communities are ready to put them to work.
Dozens of organizations endorse legislation to bring the practice to Washington. However, the Washington State Dental Association is lobbying against it.
In the long term, all dental providers stand to gain as more people seek dental care. I ask readers to reread the editorial, talk to their dentists and explain why everyone benefits from making dental care more affordable. Then they should ask them to let the WSDA know they support Senate Bill 5433.