Matt Lori helps kidsPublished 7:14pm Wednesday, October 31, 2012
To the editor:
I want to thank state Rep. Matt Lori (59th District) for his work with the Healthy Kids Dental (HKD) program to expand the program to include 10 more counties and 94,000 additional underserved children in Michigan. Access to dental appointments has been the most significant roadblock to dental care for these kids.
I have practiced dentistry in Dowagiac for more than 22 years. I work at my private practice three days a week and at the Van Buren/Cass Health Department two days a week. Like most private practices, I do not see Medicaid patients, but I do see kids through the Delta Dental HKD program. I only see Medicaid eligible children at the Health Department.
The problem has been that the Health Department was so busy that if a child needed dental care, it often took three months or more to arrange a return appointment. Now these kids can be seen at any private dental office that accepts Delta Dental.
No taxpayer likes to see the state increase its budget, but preventive care is the best money spent. Not only will these kids now have quicker access to dental treatment at an early stage, but the all-important regular visits to maintain health are also more readily available. Regular check-ups, hygiene instruction and inspiration to maintain dental health will have tremendous dividends for the money spent.
Healthy mouths mean healthy kids, healthy kids mean better students, better students get better jobs and better jobs mean fewer people in need of Medicaid.
As Ronald Reagan said, “The success of a welfare program should be measured by how many people get off the program — not how many are on it.”
Significantly helping the kids in need today will break the cycle and increase the chances that these kids won’t need help as adults.
Thanks again to Rep. Matt Lori and the Community Health Subcommittee for helping to address a great need in Cass County and all of Michigan.
Matthew V. Cripe, D.D.S.