morrison 031621SPRINGFIELD – A measure to curb the price of dental care by expanding Medicaid coverage for people with autism and developmental disabilities sponsored by State Senator Julie Morrison (D-Lake Forest) is on its way to be considered by the full Senate. 

“Healthy teeth can help lead to better overall physical health,” Morrison said. “However, not everyone can endure the stressors of the dentist. We must ensure everyone – including people with autism or other developmental disabilities – can receive the care they need.”

Senate Bill 346 addresses dental care services that are either not covered or under-reimbursed by Medicaid. The measure, which is similar to two bills Morrison filed last year before the pandemic, expands coverage of dental care and anesthesia for people with autism or a developmental disability, making those individuals more comfortable when visiting the dentist.

According to the Journal of the American Dental Association, because it is difficult for them to get treatment, people with developmental disorders suffer “a high burden of dental disease.” More than 30% of the patients studied suffered from untreated cavities and 80% from serious gum infections.

Additionally, the measure requires Medicaid to cover dental care, including anesthesia, that is provided in a hospital or surgical treatment center for any individual with a medical condition that requires hospitalization or general anesthesia.

The measure passed the Senate Health Committee Tuesday.