Governor Deval Patrick of Massachusetts filed an updated budget proposal last week that would cut nearly $800 million in spending from the initial plan he filed in January, including the elimination of coverage for dental care for adults under the state Medicaid plan.
The Massachusetts Dental Society (MDS) says that those budget decisions will lead to a deterioration in dental health for those too poor to have dental insurance, according to the Metrowest Daily News.
"If we want a healthy economy, you need to have a healthy work force," said Robert Boose, executive director for the MDS, to the paper.
The Boston Globe reports that the cutting benefits for adults would save the state $164 million but would leave 600,000 residents without access to dental care, "including exams, cleanings, and root canals."
Dr Mark Levy, a Springfield dentist, told ABC40TV that the cuts will send many people to emergency rooms instead, something Maine hospitals have reported is already happening.
"The emergency doctors are wonderful but they're not equipped to diagnose or treat dental problems," said Levy, adding only the symptoms will be treated, not the underlying dental health problem.
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