Budget Plan Expected To Cut Dental Services for Low-Income Residents
Dental care providers are concerned that Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's (R) proposal to eliminate dental services for adult Medi-Cal beneficiaries would significantly impair access to dental care for low-income residents, the Ventura County Star reports.
As part of his budget proposal, the governor has called for eliminating dental coverage for adults through Denti-Cal, California's dental program for beneficiaries of Medi-Cal, the state's Medicaid program.
Schwarzenegger also has proposed cutting Medi-Cal reimbursement rates by 10% for other services, which likely would include children's Denti-Cal benefits.
Liz Snow, chief strategy officer of the California Dental Association, said, "That type of cut within the only real oral health program in the state will be devastating."
About 4,000 dentists in California provide nearly all of the state's Denti-Cal services, Snow said, adding that the proposed cuts by Schwarzenegger would put many of them out of business.
Norman Williams, spokesperson for the Department of Health Care Services, said the budget cuts would take effect 90 days after receiving legislative approval, which has yet to occur.
Snow said CDA already has begun crafting plans for filling the gap in coverage if Denti-Cal is eliminated. She added, however, that volunteer and charity providers could not absorb the expected increase in demand (Klampe, Ventura County Star, 1/29).