Legislature(2009 - 2010)

2009-01-26 Senate Journal

Full Journal pdf

2009-01-26                     Senate Journal                      Page 0075
SB 82                                                                                                                         
SENATE BILL NO. 82 BY THE SENATE RULES COMMITTEE                                                                                
BY REQUEST OF THE GOVERNOR, entitled:                                                                                           
          "An Act providing for an effective date by delaying                                                                   
          the effective date of the change of coverage of adult                                                                 
          dental services under Medicaid; and providing for an                                                                  
          effective date."                                                                                                      
was read the first time and referred to the Health and Social Services                                                          
and Finance Committees.                                                                                                         
The following fiscal information was published today:                                                                           
 Fiscal Note No. 1, Department of Health and Social Services                                                                    

2009-01-26                     Senate Journal                      Page 0076
Governor's transmittal letter dated January 23:                                                                                 
Dear President Stevens:                                                                                                         
Under the authority of art. III, sec. 18, of the Alaska Constitution, I am                                                      
transmitting a bill extending the termination date for enhanced adult                                                           
dental services under Medicaid, for five years. Historically, adults                                                            
enrolled in Medicaid were only eligible for dental care that addressed                                                          
immediate relief of pain and acute infection, which often resulted in                                                           
tooth extractions. In 2006, the Legislature authorized an enhanced                                                              
program, which provides preventative and restorative services to                                                                
needy eligible adults under the Medicaid program. This bill would                                                               
continue this enhanced program for an additional five years.                                                                    
The Department of Health and Social Services reports that the                                                                   
program has provided access to essential dental services to needy                                                               
vulnerable Alaskan adults who otherwise may not have access to these                                                            
services. Coverage of routine dental care may reduce complications of                                                           
pregnancy, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. Over the long-term                                                             
the enhanced dental services offer opportunities for cost-savings as the                                                        
services should result in decreased need for emergent dental care,                                                              
including cases of dental infection that require treatment in hospital                                                          
emergency rooms.                                                                                                                
Additionally, denture services and restoration of decayed teeth have                                                            
assisted some adult Medicaid recipients with finding jobs or job                                                                
advancement opportunities. This provides even more significant cost-                                                            
savings opportunities to the state and to Alaska's society as a whole,                                                          
as some indigent Alaskans become able to transition to greater                                                                  
financial independence.                                                                                                         
I urge your prompt and favorable action on this measure.                                                                        
Sarah Palin