Snyder lauds expansion of dental care for Medicaid-eligible kids in Macomb, Kalamazoo counties

Gov. Rick Snyder on Monday lauded the expansion of dental coverage for Medicaid-eligible children in Macomb and Kalamazoo counties, saying it's another step toward the goal of expanding access to dental care to all children across the state.

The state budget that went into effect last week includes the addition of the two counties to Michigan's Healthy Kids Dental program. It's now available to more than 555,000 children in 80 of 83 counties and plans call for adding coverage through the program to about 420,000 children in Kent, Oakland and Wayne counties.

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"Expanding the Healthy Kids Dental program has been a priority of mine," Snyder said in a statement.

Snyder's administration said studies show children in the program are more likely to receive dental treatment than those with traditional Medicaid dental coverage. More dentists participate in the program than the regular Medicaid program and the larger network of providers makes scheduling appointments easier for families.

State public health officials, Delta Dental executives, Michigan Dental Association representatives, dentists and school officials are among those expressing support for the expansion. An event was Monday at Lincoln Career and Technology Center in Warren.