Dental Care: California Medi-Cal Cut Dental Coverage for 3 Million

California Medi-Cal Cut Dental CoverageThe Los Angeles Times is reporting that ever since California cut coverage for 3 million Medi-Cal recipients two years ago, dentists say patients now wait until infections become so severe they must visit emergency rooms or their teeth must be pulled.

In the Los Angeles Times article, Nagaraj Murthy, a dentist in Compton for the past 32 years, states that ever since California cut back dental coverage, he has lost about half of his adult patients because they don’t have money to pay for dental treatments. He doesn’t charge these patients for preliminary comprehensive exams but said he can’t afford to provide free dental treatment.

The highly anticipated healthcare reforms are not expected to help.

California’s Medi-Cal program no longer pays for X-rays, root canals, dentures, fillings or cleanings. As a result, some dental patients are having their teeth pulled instead of repairing or replacing them.

The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research states that 12% of U.S. adults 20 to 64 have not been to the dentist within the past 5 years.

For more on this story see: Reduced State Dental Benefits Create Dire Situation for Patients.

Dentists Believe Affordable Care Act Is Really a Tax Increase

Dentists Believe Affordable Care Act Is Really a Tax IncreaseThe recent U.S. Supreme Court’s 5-4 ruling on the controversial Affordable Care Act upholds the healthcare provisions that established minimum health benefit packages and state health insurance exchanges that include pediatric oral health care.

The American Dental Association fought for increased pediatric coverage as part of the Act, including how the “essential dental benefit” for children would be defined.

But many dentists are also small business owners, and while the health care law offers a tax credit to some businesses with 25 or fewer employees, it will also fine businesses with more than 50 workers if they do not provide health care coverage.

Based on these facts, The Wealthy Dentist surveyed dentists to ask if they believe that the Affordable Care Act will help their dental practice.

“It sucks!” responded one Texas dentist, “Hidden in the 2700 pages are literally hundreds of tax increases by cutting deductions, raising or lowering limits to screw us out of more money as increased taxes.”

72% of the dentist respondents answered no, they think the Affordable Care Act will not help their dental practice. 9% felt it will be good for dentistry while the other 19% believe that it is just too soon to tell.

Percentage of dentists think the Affordable Care Act will help dentistry

Small businesses, like dental practices, are responsible for more than half the new jobs created in the U.S. each year. Included in the implementation of the Affordable Care Act are funds for “alternative dental providers” along with funding for training dental hygienists, which may further impact small dental practices.

Here are the dentists’ concerns —

“Are you kidding me? It may help increase my business expenses by requiring me to cover my employees and it may help to increase my taxes in order to pay for it. While I admit there are some limited ways in which it could help me personally I don’t imagine it could help my business at all.” (California dentist)

“This will put additional taxes on an already overburdened middle class! It will limit access to care as we don’t have sufficient doctors to take care of an additional 30,000,000 people. And seniors who have paid into social security and Medicare will see their benefits cut and costs go up. (If you have paid into social security and Medicare, these are not entitlements for you, but guarantees you were given by the government who is now reneging on their promises.)” (Texas dentist)

“This puts us on a track for all dentists to soon be working as governmental employees.” (Louisiana dentist)

“I believe that the increased tax burden on all Americans that directly results from this Act will significantly reduce discretionary dollars for virtually everyone, and will eventually lead to a single payer system that will be even less efficient and more wasteful than the current system. The shame of it all is that care will be rationed and take longer, just like in Canada and Europe. People in the USA will be shocked to learn that just because procedures and techniques exist to treat their medical and dental issues, the “free” insurance will frequently not cover them. Just like every other country that has adopted a similar system, some bean counter will determine if the correct return on investment exists for the government to “allow” you to be treated. It is still true that there is no such thing as a free lunch!” (Illinois dentist)

“Please keep dentistry out of it! It is bad enough that dental insurance is attempting to dictate fees.” (Oklahoma dentist)

“People will be tuned in even more to the idea that everything should be paid for by insurance. On the other hand, the current system is broken and crazy. I hope we aren’t just trading it for more broken, crazy, and unaffordable.” (Washington dentist anesthesiologist)

“It was conceived way too fast. With very little advice from health care professionals.” (General dentist)

“The most interesting comment was that made by Chief Justice Roberts himself, when he said that the voters choose their elected representatives who pass the laws, and it is not the duty of the Supreme Court to rescue the public from the consequences of their own decisions. In other words, the Chief Justice is telling the public to grow up, take the blame for electing bad legislators, and if we don’t like what those elected officials do, it is our own duty to throw them out of office and elect candidates who will vote in accordance with the public’s wishes. We can’t rely on the Supreme Court to correct our own mistakes; we have to do that ourselves. Chief Justice Roberts’ message is a wake-up call to all of us.” (California dentist)

What do you think will fix the current healthcare system? Dentists, we’d love to hear more from you on this subject.

Dentists: Here’s the Secret to Stayin’ Alive (video)

Dentistis: Here's the Secret to Stayin' Alive (video)Dentists, is there an easy way to teach your dental patients how to perform CPR?

The British Heart Foundation thinks so.

This week’s Friday random viral video features former Welch footballer and UK actor Vinnie Jones promoting how to apply chest compressions to the rhythm of the Bee Gees song, ‘Staying Alive’ to prove that CPR is easy for anyone to learn.

The British Heart Foundation TV advertisement demonstrates the hard and fast Hands-only CPR method with the hope that more people will feel comfortable in assisting with CPR in a medical emergency.

Click Play to watch how to use ‘Staying Alive’ to save a life —

I’m curious if your dental office staff can perform CPR?


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