A massive $24.3 billion budget deficit has California lawmakers proposing a desperate slash of services in all areas of the state budget, including a proposal to remove funding from most services covered by Medi-Cal, including a huge blow to Denti-Cal, which would deprive some 3 million people of their only dental insurance.
"I don't know how the governor could come up with such a plan," Dr Neshat Rezai, a dentist who works with many low-income patients told New America Media. "What will those people do who have no teeth? How will they eat, or how will they get a job?"
Governor Schwarzenegger, addressing a joint session of the state legislature, said, "Our wallet is empty. Our bank is closed. Our credit is dried up."
"I see the pain in their eyes and hear the fear in their voice," he said of people affected by the cuts. "It's an awful feeling. But we have no choice."
The latest proposed budget will only remove Denti-Cal for adults, Denti-Cal will remain intact for patients under 21 even after July 1, which is when the cuts are set to go into effect.
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