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State cuts to social services impact dental health
Updated: 5/7/2009 3:00:30 PM

State cuts to social services impact dental health Social services for the poor and disadvantaged are being cut all across the country in the face of massive budget deficits. According to the NPR program All Things Considered, the cuts have made access to health and dental care difficult for tens of thousands of people.

In California, with a multi-billion dollar budget gap, subsidized dental work is off the table for 3 million low-income California residents who are going to have their dental benefits eliminated on July 1.

The news source says that will be a problem for Jeffrey Mende, a Los Angeleno who has been getting free dental work done at the University of Southern California's dental clinic.

"That's the end of my teeth work," says Mende on the show. He is HIV-positive and worries about the health impact of not seeing a dentist. "I'm a disabled individual on a limited income and I don't have the monies to continue with my dental care."

According to Nicholas Johnson, director of the state fiscal project at the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities in Washington, states don't have many options.

"We're seeing a lot of social services cuts because, to a large extent, that's what states do," he says.

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