Idaho House approves restoring Medicaid dental benefits

SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) - The Idaho House narrowly approved restoring non-emergency dental benefits for Medicaid recipients after the coverage was reduced in 2011 amid recession-driven budget cuts.

The Spokesman-Review reports the legislation to restore the coverage to more than 30,000 Idaho Medicaid recipients was passed Monday by a four-vote margin.

Lawmakers had promised to restore the benefits when the economy improved after the benefits were reduced to cover only emergency extractions.

The benefits were restored two years later for children and people with major disabilities.

Republican Rep. Fred Wood says poor dental hygiene can have significant health consequences, which became apparent during the two-year period without coverage.

Some lawmakers have projected that restoring the benefits would save the state $2.5 million although it would cost about $1.24 million in funding next year.

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