A $6.2 million cut to Minnesota's critical-access dental program will force dentists out of business and make it more difficult for low-income patients and those without dental insurance to have access to care, according to critics.
"What it will mean to our office is we will have to reduce the number of people (on medical assistance) we see from surrounding counties," said Michael Flynn, a dentist in Lewiston, to the Rochester Post-Bulletin.
After a failure to reach a budget agreement with the state legislature, Governor Tim Pawlenty has said he plans to use his executive authority to cut $2.7 billion from the budget to bring it into balance. Pawlenty blames the legislature for making the move necessary.
Dick Dierks, executive director of the Minnesota Dental Association, said that the rising number of people without dental insurance means that cuts that reduce access to dental care will lead to higher costs for the entire health system.
"If a patient can't get dental care through a normal fashion, then they end up going to the emergency room when they have oral pain, and that is expensive to the system and doesn't solve the dental problem," he said.
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