Update on 2012 State Oral Health Bills

Molly Pereira Featured News

May 23, 2012

Two bills that would expand oral health options for low income populations saw good progress during this year’s state legislative session. The legislative session ended on May 9, amidst some partisan turmoil and controversial procedural moves used to delay consideration of a bill regarding civil unions. Unfortunately, the tactics used in the civil unions debate also killed more than 30 other pending bills, as any bill not approved by both the state House and state Senate on the final day of the legislative session dies.
Final votes on SB 108, the bill that aimed to save Medicaid costs by offering dental coverage to pregnant women, were delayed by the civil unions debate. SB 108 had good bipartisan support, passing the state Senate and unanimously passing the House Health committee. However, the bill died awaiting its second vote by the full House, though all the necessary votes had been secured for its passage. The bill simply got caught amidst the political maneuvering. Regardless, the CDA was able to lay a good foundation on this issue during the 2012 legislative session, and faces great prospects on the issue for future years.

Thankfully, HB 1326, a bill that would restore $3M to the Old Age Pension (OAP) dental fund – funds that help Colorado’s neediest seniors access dental care – survived the ruckus at the state Capitol and passed both the state House and state Senate. Once the governor signs the bill into law, an advisory committee will be appointed to design the benefit and provide input on program implementation. Numerous CDA dentists have served on the OAP dental advisory committee in the past. The CDA will provide information on how to apply to serve on this advisory committee as the information becomes available. HB 1326 is a great victory for dental patients, and will provide a critical service to the elderly in our state.

View a full synopsis of the bills applicable to dentistry and their current status at cdaonline.org/BillStatus.