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It has been incredibly rewarding to be able to provide dental care in the state I grew up in and love. But one challenge I share with all health care practitioners is how to provide care to patients who lack insurance.

We’ve begun to hear more about Medicare for All as a potential fix. The reality is more complicated. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office concluded a government insurance system could cause a decline in the number of hospitals and other health care facilities. The same study found there would likely be less investment in new and existing facilities, leading to a shortage of providers, longer waiting times and changes in the quality of care.

As a dentist, I see the same concerns in my profession. The best way forward is to examine the accomplishments of the Affordable Care Act, enhance and expand what it does well, and fix what needs improvement. The ACA, for example, mandates pediatric dental benefits. It’s a start. Medicare, on the other hand, provides no dental coverage.

As with many of Montana’s problems, the best solution strikes me as one that improves an existing system, rather than one that depends on a radical overhaul.

Katie Maes Sealey, DDS

Helena

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