KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

Calif. Panel Considers Changes In Dental Program

As the state wrestles with budget problems, legislators consider how much coverage to give to children and adults.

California Healthline:  Subcommittee Approves Change For Sacramento County Dental Program
In fiscal year 2010-11, about 31% of the children eligible for dental care in Sacramento County actually saw a dentist (compared to a statewide average of about 50%). It is the only county in the state with a mandatory managed care dental program, which pays a per-person, capitated rate, whether beneficiaries  receive dental care or not. State legislators are considering changing that system to allow a voluntary option for beneficiaries to switch to fee-for-service. State health care officials are asking to keep the current system, with some major reforms to boost those low utilization rates (Gorn, 5/1).

HealthyCal: Community Clinics Try To Fill In Dental Care Gap
Roughly three million poor and disabled Californians had their coverage for dental services cut three years ago, and community dental clinics have struggled to cover preventative services ever since. "... Dental services aren't mandated under the federal Medicaid program and California, with a program called Denti-Cal, was one once of the few states to cover non-emergency services for adults. But with the state budget crisis, legislators cut the non-mandatory services (Shanafelt, 4/30).

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