Thursday, December 12, 2013
(Continued from page 1)
In 2012, when the voters of Maine vote on civil marriage for all Mainers, I am hopeful that my partner of 18 years and I will finally be allowed to have the same legal recognition and benefits that opposite-sex married couples now enjoy.
We do agree on one thing: I too hope the public debates will be civil and significant, not the silly fear mongering tactics that we endured last time.
Donated Dental Services worthy of state funding
As a volunteer dentist with the Donated Dental Services program, I was happy to see the Maine Legislature chose to keep the program's $40,000 funding in the state budget.
In early discussions, Donated Dental Services funding was cut. This made no sense to me because the small state contribution for a single statewide care coordinator has multiplied into millions of dollars of free dental care for a very vulnerable population.
Our 154 volunteer dentists and 14 volunteer dental labs in Donated Dental Services help people who can't afford care and don't receive MaineCare dental benefits.
We treat adults with disabilities and the older population. Many of those we treat have gone without dental care for years and have complex and costly issues.
Some of the people we see need extensive work. We may provide free care to them over many months of treatment. Often these people are looking for a job, but their chronic tooth pain or disfigured teeth make it impossible to be hired.
In the end, our volunteer work is a great reward to each of us too, as we see people leave our offices with a new, positive outlook and a good chance of finding work and making a contribution to our state.
State legislators have many programs to choose from to include in the budget. In the decision to retain the funding for Donated Dental Services, the policymakers guaranteed that this important program will continue to provide free dental care.
For that, I am grateful and want to take this opportunity to thank you.
Michael Bufo, D.M.D.