As it stands, half of children under age 21 enrolled in Medi-Cal’s dental program did not have a single dental visit in 2011, according to a January 2013 report by The Children’s Partnership, a nonprofit group that studies children’s dental health.
By the end of 2013, about 5 million children – roughly half of the children in the state – are expected to be enrolled in Medi-Cal, according to The Children’s Partnership. The rate reduction, which applies to many Medi-Cal services in addition to dental care, was approved by the state legislature in 2011 and signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown as a cost-cutting measure. The implementation of the rate change had been stalled in court proceedings until June.
“The State’s decision means that families will face even greater hurdles getting care for their children,” said Jenny Kattlove, director of strategic health initiatives at The Children’s Partnership, “resulting in pain and suffering among children who go without necessary care, expensive emergency room visits for preventable dental problems, and missed school and work due to dental problems.”