Release: Budget Agreement Reached to Fully Restore Medi-Cal Adult Dental Benefits

(This is an email action alert by CPEHN on a major issue that KRC is involved in)

CPEHN applauds the agreement announced late last night to fully restore adult dental benefits in the Medi-Cal program. Since 2009, Medi-Cal beneficiaries have gone without critical services, including partial dentures, root canals on back teeth and molars, and gum treatments. This has led to tooth decay, unnecessary extractions, job loss, and decreased quality of life for vulnerable seniors and low-income Californians.
The agreement adopted by the 2017 Budget Conference Committee ensures Medi-Cal beneficiaries do not go another year without complete oral health services. The agreement includes $34.8M General Fund beginning January 1, 2018 and $78M General Fund ongoing to fully fund the adult dental benefit.

CPEHN thanks all of the community members and advocates who have shared your stories and worked tirelessly to ensure that all of our community members can obtain optimal health, including oral health. 
In addition to the restoration of adult dental benefits, the Budget agreement reached last night included the following CPEHN priorities:

  • Restoration of optical benefits in the Medi-Cal program, beginning in 2020;
  • Expansion of the California Earned Income Tax Credit to raise the income threshold and include the self-employed;
  • Restoration of funds for children’s mental health crisis services, which were proposed for elimination in the January Budget.

The Budget agreement unfortunately does not fund the following items:

  • Restoration of other optional Medi-Cal benefits, including audiology, incontinence creams/washes, podiatry, and speech therapy;
  • Expansion of eligibility for Medi-Cal’s Aged and Disabled Program from 123% to 138% of the federal poverty level (FPL).

Finally, the Budget agreement leaves unresolved the allocation of Proposition 56 funds in the Medi-Cal Program, including funding for Denti-Cal rates and expanding eligibility to all young adults up to age 26.

Photo: Members of the Korean Resource Center and CPEHN meet with staff for Senate President pro Tempore Kevin de Leon in Los Angeles to discuss the importance of restoring the dental benefit.The full Budget Committee expects to adopt the final spending plan next week so that the Legislature can meet the June 15th budget deadline.