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Tribal advocates keep up legal pressure for fair political maps; 12-member jury sworn in for Trump's historic criminal trial; the importance of healthcare decision planning; and a debt dilemma: poll shows how many people wrestle with college costs.

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Civil rights activists say a court ruling could end the right to protest in three southern states, a federal judge lets January 6th lawsuits proceed against former President Trump, and police arrest dozens at a Columbia University Gaza protest.

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Rural Wyoming needs more vocational teachers to sustain its workforce pipeline, Ohio environmental advocates fear harm from a proposal to open 40-thousand forest acres to fracking and rural communities build bike trail systems to promote nature, boost the economy.

KY to Finalize Expanded Medicaid Dental, Vision, Hearing Benefits

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Friday, September 8, 2023   

Kentucky lawmakers next week are expected to finalize regulations that have expanded dental, vision and hearing benefits for Medicaid beneficiaries this year. Advocates for making them permanent say greater access to these services will make Kentucky's population healthier.

Jefferson County resident Missy Newland said she's experienced years of pain from cracked molars and a chronic condition that affects her gums. She said she previously avoided dental treatment because of the cost. Now, Newland is more likely to visit the dentist - knowing Medicaid will cover the bulk of her treatment.

"The regulations would definitely help people like my mom - people like me, people like my sister - who, if they don't get help, they're suffering," she said.

Around 900,000 primarily low-income Kentuckians rely on Medicaid for their health care. According to Kentucky Voices for Health, since the new rules went into effect, Kentuckians have used their benefits for nearly 3,000 crowns, 2,000 root canals and nearly 6,000 partial or complete dentures.

For those who need them, Newland said, going without dentures often leads to a host of other health problems.

"As they get their teeth pulled, they're losing their source of nutrition," she said, "because your food choices are very limited if you don't have dentures."

Newland said her family members' experiences of suffering from untreated tooth and gum issues shed light on the importance of access to dental care.

"I wanted to give a face to that," she said, "and let everybody know there's humans attached to these laws you're making and the regulations that you put on health care."

More than 68 million U.S. adults lack dental insurance, according to data released this week by CareQuest Institute for Oral Health.


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