Friday, February 26, 2010

MediLexicon News - Medicaid Cuts Hurt Calif. Dental Coverage, Drive Away Doctors In Okla.; Public Hospitals In NYC Fear Possible Reductions

In California where hundreds of millions of dollars are being spent implementing fluoridation: "NPR: 'In California, it's been seven months since some 3 million poor and disabled adults lost their dental coverage to budget cuts. ... While the recession may be easing, California and other states across the country continue to face eye-popping budget deficits. As a result, states are cutting deep into public health programs, and dental benefits for Medicaid recipients top the list. ... Before the state budget cuts, Medicaid patients here could get annual exams, cleanings and, if needed, root canals to save their teeth. ... In interviews with dozens of dentists and safety-net clinics around California, providers say patients are forgoing routine cleanings and delaying care until the pain is unbearable. Dentists are offering discounts and payment plans, but they say few patients can afford them. Dental schools and free clinics are overrun, and some private dental offices and at least one community dental clinic have closed. Under federal law, dental coverage is considered an optional benefit that states don't have to provide when insuring poor or disabled residents' (Varney, 2/21)."