Surprise! Medicaid dental care ends up hurting poor kids.
Earlier this year, Deamonte Driver, a 12-year-old boy living in Maryland, died after he got a tooth infection that led to a brain infection. Deamonte had never seen a dentist. The problem wasn't that he was among America's 47 million uninsured. He was covered by Medicaid, the federal health-insurance program for the poor, which includes dental care for kids. But Medicaid reimbursement rates for dentists in Maryland—as in many states—are set at such low rates that few dentists accept Medicaid patients. …
And so now we have rationing without calling it that. Politicians trumpet gains in Medicaid coverage for children, while the reality is that the shortage of providers leaves sick, poor children without care.