House panel kills bill to change Medicaid dental programs for children


On Tuesday, a Florida House panel killed a bill attempting to overhaul the Florida Medicaid program that provides dental care for children. With a 6-to-6 tie, the House Health Innovation Subcommittee shelved HB 601, filed by Tequesta Republican Rep. MaryLynn Magar.

In the state’s new Medicaid managed-care structure, HMOs and other plans are responsible for offering dental care services to children in the system.

HB 601 sought to take pediatric dental services away from the broader Medicaid managed-care program, and move it to a system of prepaid dental plans. Supporters of Magar’s bill contended changing the system improves dental care and expands the number of dentists treating children on Medicaid.

Ormond Beach Republican Rep. Fred Costello, who is also a dentist, told the committee that the bill is “about taking care” of kids.

Opponents of the bill, which include Medicaid HMO representatives, argued against taking dental services from a comprehensive Medicaid managed-care system. The change could open the door for removal of other services from the Medicaid system.

Amerigroup Florida lobbyist Michael Garner, pointed out an increase in the number of dentists serving children since this past year’s change in the Medicaid managed-care system, and urged the committee to avoid backpedaling on the program.

Phil Ammann

Phil Ammann is a Tampa Bay-area journalist, editor and writer. With more than three decades of writing, editing, reporting and management experience, Phil produced content for both print and online, in addition to founding several specialty websites, including His broad range includes covering news, local government, entertainment reviews, marketing and an advice column. Phil has served as editor and production manager for Extensive Enterprises Media since 2013 and lives in Tampa with his wife, visual artist Margaret Juul. He can be reached on Twitter @PhilAmmann or at [email protected]


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