The Parkersburg (West Virginia) News and Sentinel published this editorial on Aug. 30 regarding meetings across West Virginia to address affordability and access to oral health care:

We've all heard the old "jokes" told mostly by those from outside West Virginia about the condition of our teeth. Nasty as they might have been, there was a grain of truth to them in terms of the need for better oral health for many families in our state. Progress has been made, but room for improvement remains.

That is where the West Virginia Oral Health Coalition comes in. Last week it held a stakeholder meeting here in Parkersburg to hear ideas for the group's next State Oral Health Plan. Meetings will continue around the state as the group pursues its mission of "Healthy Smiles for All." That's a lofty goal in a state where too many families are struggling with economic worries, addiction, poor health and limited access to healthcare.

Even for families who have fared better in the economic resurgence that wasn't, "extras" like dental insurance are an easy thing to slice from the budget when times are (and have been) tough.

Oral Health Plans put together for 2010 to 2015 and 2016 to 2020 focused on issues like community water fluoridation and dental sealant programs for school-aged kids. How about we add affordability and access to the list?

A family that cannot afford to take everyone to the dentist, maybe doesn't have a means of transportation, or does not live anywhere near a dentist's office is going to have enough other worries that proper oral healthcare will fall by the wayside - and many of them live in areas where they do not draw from a municipal water source that might be fluoridated.

Surely these concerns will come up during the meetings being held statewide. Let us hope the State Oral Health Plan 2020-25 includes measures to address them.

Finally, a plan to stop

the robocalls

The Sandusky (Ohio) Register published this editorial on Aug. 29:

Should companies be allowed to solicit business using an endless, deceptive practice called robocalls, making literally billions of telephone contacts with consumers uninvited, seemingly in a constant stream of interruptions? No.

Is it a legitimate business practice and can you trust the messages that come with these calls and deceptive business practices? No.

Should consumers be forced to tolerate this invasion of their space by greedy operators that don't have a legitimate business, or employee legitimate business practices to sell their products, and instead turn to high-pressure and constant push that isn't welcome and is not appreciated? No.

No. No. No, we say.

The only reason we can figure why it's been allowed to go on for so long is that there were no rules or regulations outlawing robocalls. Well, that was then, and this is now. We're encouraged that all 50 state attorneys general and the District of Columbia have agreed on a set of standards to put the robo-callers out of business. They've promised to promote the technologies that phone companies can use to stop this annoying practice and we're glad they have.

The group, which includes Ohio Attorney General David Yost, is pushing the initiative with 12 phone service providers to adopt anti-robocall practices. Providers like AT&T, Verizon and Sprint will develop policies on how to identify and block illegal robocalls and make it easier for law enforcement to prosecute criminals. The agreement brings phone service providers on board as critical allies, Yost said. "By adopting these commonsense business practices, service providers will reinforce our ongoing efforts to crack down on this growing nuisance."

The plan calls for call blocking technology, at no cost to customers; provide customers with free, easy-to-use call blocking tools; technology to verify if calls are coming from a valid source; and monitor phone company networks for robocall traffic. The providers also will trace origins of illegal robocalls and will attempt to develop technology as scam tactics evolve.

It's a great start, we believe, and now is the time to crack down on scammers. We hope it works and is the beginning of a united and consistent effort to combat what has been, simply, a degenerate method of doing business.


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