Passage of Dental Therapy Expands Access to Affordable Care (video)

Joint Health Committee Meeting
Joint House and Senate Health Committee Hearing on Novermber 28, 2017
Joint Health Committee Meeting
Joint House and Senate Health Committee Hearing on Novermber 28, 2017

For several weeks during the 53rd Legislative Session, I posted (almost) daily one-minute video updates from my office at the Capitol and posted them on Facebook and YouTube.

I never imagined how wildly popular these videos would be. At the Capitol, #RedForEd advocates would randomly come up to me and say, “I love your videos!” Now that I am back in Tucson, people come up to me at events, at church and in stores, and say, “I love your videos!”

So… I will be keeping them up during the interim.

My first interim video is on the passage of dental therapy. To catch up, I am doing a few videos on some of the bills we passed in a flurry at the end of the 53rd Session last week.

On the very last day, we passed dental therapy as a striker on another bill. I played an integral role in getting dental therapy out of the sunrise committee hearing last fall. Going into the November hearing (pictured above), only Republican Senator Nancy Barto and I were supportive of dental therapy. After five hours of testimony, it passed out of the sunrise committee but had a rocky road in the Legislature. I’m glad it finally passed.

I believe dental therapy is good public health policy because it will offer affordable dental care in rural and urban areas. This will expand access to care, prevent tooth loss, and offer a new career to residents of Arizona.

To Learn more about why dental therapy is important, you can read:

Economic Inequality, Access to Care & Workforce Development: A Progressive Roadmap.

Here is some of the media coverage on the passage of dental therapy:

Arizona law creates dental therapists to handle fillings, extractions and crowns 

Arizona is about to get a new type of dental professional

Chester Antone: Dental therapists good for tribes, good for Arizona

Watch the video below the fold. (Cross-posted from



  1. Dental therapy was backed by many groups, including the tribes, the public health community, Chicanos por la Causa, the community health centers and… wait for it… the Goldwater Institute. The primary opponent was the dental association. The dentists were able to kill dental therapy in the sunrise process in 2016 (with all of the Dems voting no). In 2017, with new Health Committee members in the House, it passed the Sunrise Committee– but not without a struggle. Cobb’s rhetoric was all about practice protection, and she fought that case at every turn. When I saw how vehemently she was attacking dental therapy, I stepped up the debate and turned it to public health, affordability, and access to care. It got out of the Sunrise Committee with three Democrats (Rep. Navarrete, Senator Bradley and me) voting yes along with Republicans Montenegro and Barto. Senator Lesko and Reps. Cobb, Carter and Lawrence voted no. Some powerful people lost that day. You’re welcome. 🙂

  2. How did the Dental association State representative on the committee react and vote on this bill?

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