This is a tumultuous time for state budgets around the country, and the Golden State is no different.
I would like to call your attention to a proposed cut in the California state budget that threatens the oral health of our citizens.
The state legislature has eliminated adult Denti-Cal insurance benefits from the state budget as of July 1, 2009. Denti-Cal is part of Medi-Cal, which is California’s version of the federal Medicaid program. Medi-Cal provides health care to 6.6 million low-income and disabled residents. The proposed cuts will impact thousands of adults, including many from already underserved and vulnerable populations.
If Denti-Cal insurance is eliminated, people around the state will suffer from the loss of quality dental care, including preventative procedures. Patients will then require more complex and costly procedures, and when in need may turn to hospital emergency rooms and other expensive options.
Our school is monitoring the situation closely. The proposed cuts directly impact the patient base at our clinics, especially the main dental clinic in San Francisco, since many patients there use Denti-Cal insurance. The clinic staff, students and faculty have been communicating with patients to inform them about the proposed elimination of Denti-Cal benefits.
I encourage members of the dental community to voice support for Denti-Cal by contacting their representatives in the Senate and Assembly. If you want to send a message, you can find your representatives by going to http://www.legislature.ca.gov and typing in your address in the “Find My District” box in the right-hand column. The link will take you to the representative’s web site through which you can send an email asking that Denti-Cal benefits funding be restored.