Boy Dies — Because He Was Insured By Medicaid

Deamonte Driver died not because he was uninsured. Indeed, Deamonte Driver died because he was insured — by the government. Deamonte, it turns out, was on Medicaid…

Although Deamonte was insured, he never received routine dental care. It turns out that only 16 percent of Maryland dentists accept Medicaid patients. Fewer than one-sixth of Maryland kids on Medicaid have ever had a cavity filled…

You’d think that many mothers in Alyce’s position would find a way around this problem, that she could offer to supplement Medicaid’s penurious fees in order to gain access to a better dentist for her two sons. But that would be illegal.

More from Avik Roy.

Comments (12)

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  1. Buster says:

    Finding dentists willing to accept Medicaid is an even a bigger problem than finding doctors willing to accept Medicaid-enrolled patients. Medicaid dental fees are low. But I also suspect part of the reason most dentists don’t want to participate in Medicaid is that dentistry takes considerable time per patient. A doctor that agrees to see a Medicaid-insured patient may have done his or her duty to help the less fortunate in 10 minutes. But a dentist who sees a Medicaid patient may have to spend half an hour with the patient — possibly more. A dentist who accepts Medicaid could probably expect to be inundated with appointment requests. Low Medicaid provider fees are just another way to ration care and control costs.

  2. Chris says:

    … which is my biggest problem with government insurance, it isn’t freedom to be given an entitlement is a requirement is that they take the freedom away for you to not use it. This is what scares people about Obamacare, that it’ll put us all on this path.

  3. Josh says:

    Very sad. Best not to conflate coverage with care, it would seem.

  4. Cindy says:

    Is it just me, or does this not also prove that some people with coverage will just inevitably die anyway? This seems like a very rare case regardless.

  5. Harley says:

    You know this is an interesting topic. There is bipartisan recognition about the difficulty finding Medicaid PCPs. Short of compelling hospitals or pcps to accept patients for which their margins are incredibly small — and in many cases toxic… What can be done?

  6. Sandeep says:

    This is a tragic story, I wonder if the play out of ACA will also produce these kinds of tragedies.

  7. Jack says:

    I always hate these narratives. It’s funny that most politicians find themselves in power, and take measures to retain their position, through a system of economic incentives — yet as soon as they start legislating it’s like about they’ve lost their capacity for rational thought.

  8. Patel says:

    Sandeep brings up a good point, surely Obamacare will produce similar results, already, many providers are not accepting medicaid and medicare.

  9. steve says:

    What percentage of insurance plans provide dental coverage? Note how John forgets to note this number. Next question. What percentage of dentists will see him with no insurance and no ability to pay?


  10. Bob Hertz says:

    I msy be wrong about this, but I do not know of any initiatives by organized American dentistry to care for the poor.

    I realize that not all dentists are rich, nor can the hardest procedures just be delegated to nurses.

    So universal dental care is not an easy task….but my impression is that dentists have not even tried.

    Medicaid is very limited, but where is a private alternative? Medical professionals are more than just business people.

    Bob Hertz, The Health Care Crusade

  11. diogenes says:

    The working poor, those making too much for Medicaid, have no access to dental or medical care. It’s a big problem, people with bad teeth don’t get hired. You want Medicaid patients to have better access to dentists, lobby to have the reimbursements increased.

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