To the Readers' Forum:
Most Americans have access to the best oral health care in the world and, as a result, enjoy excellent oral health. But tens of millions still do not, owing to such factors as poverty, geography, lack of oral health education, language or cultural barriers. Medicaid is an important safety net. Currently, this program serves more than 50 million Americans, including vulnerable populations such as children, pregnant women, the disabled and the elderly. Given that preventive and routine dental services save overall health care dollars by avoiding costly visits to the emergency room, the dental community needs to ensure that beneficiaries within Medicaid have access to dental services in the same way as beneficiaries in the private sector.
It is a shame that some of the local dentists in Chautauqua County do not take Medicaid for payment of their services, due to the fact that Medicaid does not pay as quickly as they like. One dentist even stated that they would not take Medicaid because Medicaid does not pay for theirs service like most other insurance company do. The majority of dentists that do take Medicaid are in the northern part of the county, so an individual that lives in the southern part of the county would need to find a ride to the North County and with high gas prices and the lack of public transportation it seems that they are not getting the care that they deserve.
I am not certain of the answers to this dilemma but, we need to write to our local government to ensure that we improve the integrity of the Medicaid program to make sure it is sound and responds to market demands and state economic needs. During my research, I have found that prevention is essential and everyone deserved a dentist. Silence is the enemy. When people whether it is the lawmakers, the media or general public learn about oral health and the consequences of oral diseases, all we can hope is that their attitudes and priorities change.