Mich. lawmakers want dental Medicaid funds restored

Michigan legislators are close to putting Medicaid funding for dental care back into the state budget for the 2011 fiscal year, according to a report by 9 & 10 News and other news reports.

This week both the state Senate and the House passed a $14 billion Department of Community Health budget that would restore funding for dental, podiatry, and vision care for Medicaid recipients. The budget is now headed to Gov. Jennifer Granholm for review.

After Medicaid funding for these services was stripped from the community health budget last year due to the state's budget deficit, many dentists said treatment began trending toward tooth extractions and other forms of emergency care, with the wait list for these services doubling in some cases, according to 9 & 10 News.

The $14 billion budget -- $2.4 billion from state tax dollars, the rest federal money -- relies heavily on federal stimulus money. It restores funding for adult dental and podiatry services under Medicaid and lessens a proposed $50 million cut in mental health services to a $1 million cut. It also avoids a 4% cut in Medicaid reimbursements to some physicians and hospitals.

But some lawmakers warned that the community health budget will create a $500 million budget gap in 2012 when the federal stimulus money runs out in 2011, according to a blog posting on michiganliberal.com.

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