As of July 1, California’s Medi-Cal System will no longer provide dental care coverage for low income adults in that state. The move is expected to save the state an estimated $115 million dollars per year. However, opponents of the plan say that losing the Medi-Cal System’s dental care coverage will create a slough of problems that the state is not prepared to handle.

Opponents are worried that emergency rooms around the state will be ill-prepared to handle the influx of patients in need of dental-related emergencies. In fact, unless the patient is suffering from an severe facial injury, most hospitals do not provide dental care treatments. Furthermore, the cuts could force clinics such as the Western Dental Centers and Golden Valley Health Centers to refocus their efforts on alternative revenue streams. These clinics specialize in treating adults whom utilize the Medi-Cal System. According to,

Dental offices that accept Medi-Cal are turning patients away if they can’t get authorization for care before July 1 and the patient doesn’t want to pay cash.

Proponents of the cuts, however, say that these cuts are necessary to help the State of California emerge from a massive budget deficit. They also point to the few dental centers that provide dental care services on a sliding scale to adjust fees based on income as an option.

My Thoughts

Unfortunately, budget cuts such as this are nothing new. Even in prosperous economic times states operate under deficits. Also not new is the archaic methodology behind the decision to cut certain programs from states’ budgets. It’s really interesting that states seem to cut programs that affect the largest number of people, while leaving basket weaving services unscathed. I know, I know, you’re probably saying that cutting programs affecting the largest number of people will save the state the most money. I get that. But, when it comes to important services like healthcare, I don’t think compromising people’s health is an option.


Cory Kemp is the founder and chief editor of He's committed to providing consumers with helpful tips for saving money at the dentist. Follow me on Google +