By CORTNEY ERNDT
Capital News Service
LANSING – Gov. Rick Snyder’s 2014 budget proposal to expand the Healthy Kids Dental program in West and Southeast Michigan has been blocked by House and Senate panels. West Michigan District Dental Society representative and Zeeland dentist Meredith Smedley said, “The hearts of the dentists in Ottawa County are breaking over the decision to reject the expansion.”
Snyder recommended $11.6 million to expand the program into Ottawa, Ingham and Washtenaw counties. The program now operates in 75 of Michigan’s 83 counties to provide care to Medicaid-eligible residents under age 21. According to the Michigan League for Public Policy, the expansion would lead to dental care for 50 percent of eligible children statewide next year. The governor also supports an expansion for 100,000 children in Kalamazoo, Oakland, Macomb and Wayne counties in 2015.