Governor Rick Scott’s second veto of the year denies money for private dental care in rural communities.
Despite unanimous approval from the House and Senate, Governor Scott vetoed legislation that would help dentists open private practices in medically underserved communities. Scott said state programs like this already exist. But Joe Anne Hart of the Florida Dental Association says current programs, like Medicaid Managed Care and Florida KidCare, leave gaps in coverage.
“If that was sufficient, then, you know, that would be appropriate to say that, but we know that there are many areas around Florida that lacks adequate access to dental care. And this is a new program and a new concept that is not currently existing in the state of Florida,” Hart says.
The Florida Dental Association’s president says he’s disappointed with the decision. And the Florida Rural Health Association says rural community health centers don’t offer adequate care, and most dentists can’t afford to open a private practice from scratch. Vice President Gail Bellamy says without the bill, rural communities will continue to miss out on care they need.
“I think it is a major misstep," Bellamy says. "It’s a major opportunity that we are allowing to go by the wayside by vetoing this particular bill.”
This is the second time Governor Scott vetoed the proposal. Both groups hope the third time’s the charm.