The Spark

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.” — Karl Marx

Dental Disaster

Sep 3, 2012

Dental coverage for poor adults across the U.S. has gotten dramatically worse. In about half the states, Medicaid no longer covers preventive dental care, according to a recent report by the Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured.

This means cavity filling and tooth cleaning are not covered. Only the treatment of dental emergencies is paid for.

In practice, “emergency Medicaid” pays only for pulling teeth to relieve pain. So, a dental treatment dating back to 1846 – is all that is paid for!

With emergency Medicaid, in cases of multiple tooth infections, all of a poor person’s upper or lower teeth get pulled, to allow for dentures. This is the only option that emergency Medicaid will pay for.

This situation will not improve under President Obama’s healthcare overhaul because the new law only requires dental coverage for children.

Pressure will continue for states to move Medicaid money around and cut “optional” Medicaid services – dental, optical, and prescriptions – because the new healthcare law did not fully fund Medicaid.

Whether politicians realize it or not, teeth ARE a part of the human body. Untreated dental problems can morph into huge infections.

It’s penny-wise and pound-foolish,” said a spokesperson for the Pew Research Center. “Rather than ... a $300 filling, states are spending much more on emergency room visits.”

This is what both parties have agreed to do BEFORE upcoming November elections. Just imagine what more cuts will lie in store for the poor AFTER the elections. No matter which party controls the government.