As we wait to see the news about a possible budget deal–and the prospects of more and more cuts–it’s important to note that the ramifications of past cuts are just being felt in a widespread manner.
Tomorrow, July 1st, the inability to raise revenues to solve California ’s budget crisis will hit home will millions of Californians, with parents, seniors and people with disabilities that lose dental and other key benefits. Health Access has a revised fact sheet on our website that describes the eliminated benefits, and their fiscal, health, and human impacts.
Let’s be clear: Millions of Californians will live sicker and die younger as a result of these cuts. These budget cuts reflects choices, and it is sad that our policymakers chose to cut off millions of Californians from basic care, rather than finding the revenues needed to maintain these needed services.
The elimination of these benefits also mean we lose significant more dollars in federal matching funds, meaning the cut to our health system is magnified. Not only will hundreds of thousands incur significant medical debt, and other will simply not get needed care, but the lack of these preventative care will impose broader costs on the health system in the long run.
The benefits that will be eliminated tomorrow include:
* DENTAL CARE, including routine teeth cleanings and x-rays as well as procedures such as root canals. Certain dental procedures, such as tooth extractions, which can be performed by a physician, will still be covered if the beneficiary can find a doctor who will do the procedure. Patients impacted in a given year: 909,090
* OPTICIAN SERVICES and optical lab services, which include the filling of and fittings for prescription eyeglasses and contact lenses. Patients impacted in a given year: 485,873
* OPTOMETRY SERVICES provided by an optometrist, include routine eye examinations and other preventive screenings. Some procedures will still covered, at a higher expense to Medi-Cal, when provided by an ophthalmologist. Patients impacted in a given year: 214,522
* PODIATRY SERVICES, which refer to the care and treatment of feet, are important in helping people remain mobile. Patients impacted in a given year: 85,129
* INCONTINENCE CREAMS AND WASHES, which are prescribed to help incontinent patients keep their skin clean and dry, and to avoid irritation and infection. Patients impacted in a given year: 65,591
* ACUPUNCTURE SERVICES, which is the use of small needles to treat pain and other health problems, and is an important alternative to pharmaceutical treatments. Patients impacted in a given year: 32,906
* AUDIOLOGY SERVICES, including hearing aids, and the services to screen, diagnose, and evaluate the need for hearing aids will only be limited to those performed by physicians as part of a routine exam. Patients impacted in a given year: 28,061
* CHIROPRACTIC SERVICES, which can help treat and lessen chronic back pain. Patients impacted in a given year: 12,439
* MENTAL HEALTH PSYCHOLOGY SERVICES and behavioral therapy services by a psychologist (previously limited to two treatments per month), unless the patient is severely mentally ill. Patients impacted in a given year: 4,970
* SPEECH THERAPY SERVICES provided by speech therapists. Patients impacted in a given year: 1,593
For the revised Health Access one-page chart that further details the fiscal, health, human, and system impacts of the elimination of these Medi-Cal benefits, visit the Health Access website, at: