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Gov. Snyder wants dental care program for low-income kids expanded statewide

Jake Neher

Gov. Rick Snyder says one of his budget priorities in his second term would be to expand a program that helps low-income kids get dental care.

Right now, the Healthy Kids Dental program is available to more than 500,000 children in 80 of Michigan’s 83 counties. But the program is not available in three of the state’s largest counties – Wayne, Oakland, and Kent.

An expansion into those counties could almost double the number of kids that have access to the program, as more than 400,000 children would be eligible for the program in those counties, according to the Michigan Department of Community Health (MDCH).

But MDCH officials say those three remaining counties would be more expensive to cover because so many children would be eligible.

Snyder says he is still committed to making sure kids in all Michigan counties have access to the program.

“Well that’s the idea, is as we have space and room, let’s try to add a county, county, county kind of program to get everyone covered because it is so important to the overall health in our state,” Snyder told reporters Monday at an event in Warren celebrating the launch of Healthy Kids Dental in Macomb County.

This month, Macomb became the largest county in the state to offer the program, which also expanded to Kalamazoo County with the beginning of the new budget year.

The campaign for Democratic candidate for governor Mark Schauer has not returned a request for comment.