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Louisiana lawmakers could not reach a decision Tuesday on a bill to outlaw school-based mobile dental clinics, according to a report in The Times-Picayune.
With questions remaining about where state regulators stand on the issue, the House Health and Welfare Committee voted 9-8 to keep the bill in committee for at least another week.
Mobile clinics bring dentists directly to schools to perform dental care. They are common in Louisiana, where children can lack access even if they qualify for Medicaid or LaCHIP health-care programs.
Supporters of the bill are led by the Louisiana Dental Association, and say that the mobile clinics are sub-standard and children, regardless of access to dental insurance, should be treated in a fully equipped dental office.
"All Louisiana children deserve first-class dental care," said Marty Garrett, a Baton Rouge dentist and past president of the LDA, in the Times-Picayune.
The supporters of the clinics say access is the key, and that there is no evidence the care isn't up to standards.
Dionne Richardson, the state's dental director, told the Advocate Capitol News Bureau that officially the state Department of Health and Hospitals was neutral on the issue.
"Our primary concern is access for children," she said.
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