Same job, different uniform.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

That said...

Bill Sali is my choice for the 1st Congressional District. Obviously we share the same values, but that is not always enough. (Dennis Mansfield comes to mind as an exception.)

There is another side to Bill Sali that I like. He gets it. When the Legislature cut Medicaid funding for dental care, Bill realized this was a mistake that would cost the State of Idaho a bunch of money. He was right. When uninsured Idahoans don't have access to basic medical or dental care, they show up in the ER for care. Taxpayers, and hospitals, foot the bill.

In 2004, in an effort to find outside-the-box ways to increase access, a group of us proposed legislation to create a new license for retired dentists; a license that would permit them to practice (gratis of course) in hospitals, schools and community-based dental clinics without the financial burden of renewing their license. No fiscal impact, and it received broad support.

There were three bills that the Board of Dentistry supported that year, and they were linked. If one went down, all three would go.

We almost lost them in the House Committee on Health and Welfare. I left in a slump--right before Mr. Sali realized the implications of the vote and saved all three bills.

It was a bit of unrecognized heroism and I won't forget it. I won't forget that a man called a foam-at-the-mouth conservative supported increased access to dental services for the underserved.

You'll always know where Bill Sali stands. If you haven't voted yet, click here for information about Sali. There's an impressive list of endorsements, too.

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