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GAO Estimates 6.5M Child Medicaid Beneficiaries Have Untreated Tooth Decay

The report found that about one-third the 20 million child Medicaid beneficiaries had any dental care in the last 12 months, compared with more than half of children with private health insurance. The report states, "Children in Medicaid remain at higher risk of dental disease compared to children with private health insurance; children in Medicaid were almost twice as likely to have untreated tooth decay." The report also states that about one in eight children enrolled in Medicaid never visits a dentist.

GAO estimates "that in 2005, 1.1 million children aged two through 18 in Medicaid had conditions that warranted seeing a dentist within two weeks. Compared to children who had private insurance, children in Medicaid were more than four times as likely to be in urgent need of dental care." The report suggests that parents tried to get dental services for their children, but GAO estimates that "724,000 children aged two through 18 in Medicaid could not obtain needed care" (Reuters, 9/23).

The report is available online (.pdf).

Reprinted with kind permission from http://www.kaisernetwork.org. You can view the entire Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report, search the archives, or sign up for email delivery at http://www.kaisernetwork.org/dailyreports/healthpolicy. The Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report is published for kaisernetwork.org, a free service of The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation.

© 2008 Advisory Board Company and Kaiser Family Foundation. All rights reserved.


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