PRESSURE ARISES TO UN-DO MEDI-CAL CUTBACKS

RESTORE HEALTH FUNDS, ADVOCATES URGE LEADERS

A free dental clinic offered this summer at the Cal Expo grounds in Sacramento may serve as the perfect illustration of how great is the need for restoring many, if not all, of the medical and dental services which have been cut from the Medi-Cal program over the last several years of deep budget deficits and its attendant cuts.

“Three years ago, the state eliminated most adult dental services to help balance the budget.

“As California recovers from a deep recession and expects several billion dollars worth of new voter-approved taxes, Democrats and low-income advocates are clamoring to restore health and social service programs such as adult Denti-Cal.

“Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento, specifically mentions the dental program as a priority and sees ‘pent-up demand’ to undo the most severe budget cuts, though he isn’t sure if that can happen immediately.”

Readers may recall that inability to access even basic dental care through a managed care program in Sacramento County reached scandalous levels earlier this year and cast serious doubts about the value of the managed care model in all areas of healthcare.  With the state Department of Health Care Services poised to launch managed care model health care reform throughout California’s 58 counties by 2014, it should be clear by now that such reform will absolutely depend on having a revenue stream that is reliable and sufficiently robust to reimburse providers at an adequate level, as well as having strong protections for  patients against systemic abuses.

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Although the new revenue has nearly closed the budget gap, an estimated $1.9 Billion deficit is predicted for 2013, according to the Legislative Analyst’s Office (LAO).  Governor Jerry Brown has signaled that he may be less willing to restore the requested lost funding until the economy exhibits a more robust recovery

The full story can be read at:  http://www.sacbee.com/2012/12/12/5048228/californias-recovery-raises-hopes.html

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