Health-care officials on Wednesday welcomed Sen. Charles Schumer's efforts to address the shortage of dentists in upstate New York.

As the costs of health care continue to rise across the country, Schumer said, access to dental care for children and families across the state is being threatened. There are about 33,000 children without dental insurance in the Southern Tier.

He discussed his support for the Deamonte Driver Dental Care Access Improvement Act of 2008 _ a proposed comprehensive bill introduced by Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio _ during a Wednesday afternoon telephone conference. The bill is named for a 12-year-old state of Maryland boy who died from a tooth infection that spread to his brain.

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