GAO on Medicaid: Childrens’ Dental Care Up, Dental Disease Unchanged

ObamaCare will add at least 18 million people to the Medicaid rolls. But according to a 2008 GAO report, increasing the amount of Medicaid dental care has had zero effect on the prevalence of dental disease in children.

The report uses National Health And Nutrition Examination Survey results from 1988 through 2004 and Medical Expenditure Panel Survey data to conclude that “Compared with children with private health insurance, children in Medicaid were at much higher risk of tooth decay and experienced problems at rates more similar to those without any [health] insurance…the proportion of children in Medicaid with untreated tooth decay (33 percent) was nearly double the rate for children who had private insurance (17 percent) and was similar to the rate for uninsured children (35 percent).” [See the figure.]

Access remains a big problem. Of the children in Medicaid who reportedly were unable to access needed care, 15 percent said they could not get care “because the provider refused to accept their insurance plan, compared to only 2 percent of privately insured children.” Medicaid children were four times more likely to be in need of urgent dental care, defined as needing care within 2 weeks in order to relieve symptoms and stabilize a condition, as children with private insurance.

Comments (4)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. Devon Herrick says:

    A service that is hard to access is almost as bad as having no access to the service at all.

  2. Brian Williams. says:

    A few years ago, a boy died because of a tooth infection. He couldn’t get in to see a Medicaid dentist.

  3. Joe S. says:

    I’m convinced we don’t need medicaid.

  4. Vicki says:

    This confirms what I have always thought. There is very little difference between being uninsured and being on Medicaids.