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GAO on Medicaid: Childrens’ Dental Care Up, Dental Disease Unchanged Filed in Medicaid

ObamaCare will add at least 18 million people to the Medicaid rolls. But according to a 2008 GAO report, increasing the amount of Medicaid dental care has had zero effect on the prevalence of dental disease in children. 

The report uses National Health And Nutrition Examination Survey results from 1988 through 2004 and Medical Expenditure Panel Survey data to conclude that “Compared with children with private health insurance, children in Medicaid were at much higher risk of tooth decay and experienced problems at rates more similar to those without any [health] insurance…the proportion of children in Medicaid with untreated tooth decay (33 percent) was nearly double the rate for children who had private insurance (17 percent) and was similar to the rate for uninsured children (35 percent).” [See the figure.] 


Access remains a big problem. Of the children in Medicaid who reportedly were unable to access needed care, 15 percent said they could not get care “because the provider refused to accept their insurance plan, compared to only 2 percent of privately insured children.” Medicaid children were four times more likely to be in need of urgent dental care, defined as needing care within 2 weeks in order to relieve symptoms and stabilize a condition, as children with private insurance.

SOURCE: John Goodman's Health Policy Blog

John_GoodmanJohn C. Goodman is president and CEO of the National Center for Policy Analysis. The Wall Street Journal and the National Journal, among other publications, have called him the "Father of Health Savings Accounts," and the Media Research Center credits him, along with former Sen. Phil Gramm and columnist Bill Kristol with playing the pivotal role in the defeat of the Clinton Administration's plan to overhaul the U.S. health care system. He is also the Kellye Wright Fellow in health care. The mission of the Wright Fellowship is to promote a more patient-centered, consumer-driven health care system.

Dr. Goodman's health policy blog is the only right-of-center health care blog on the Internet. It is the only place where pro-free enterprise, private sector solutions to health care problems are routinely examined and debated by top health policy experts throughout the country-conservative, moderate and liberal.

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