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Saturday, March 10th 2007

Pay Attention Over Here

A story on how a lack of dental care cost a Maryland child…

By the time Deamonte’s own aching tooth got any attention, the bacteria from the abscess had spread to his brain, doctors said. After two operations and more than six weeks of hospital care, the Prince George’s County boy died.

Deamonte’s death and the ultimate cost of his care, which could total more than $250,000, underscore an often-overlooked concern in the debate over universal health coverage: dental care.

Some poor children have no dental coverage at all. Others travel three hours to find a dentist willing to take Medicaid patients and accept the incumbent paperwork. And some, including Deamonte’s brother, get in for a tooth cleaning but have trouble securing an oral surgeon to fix deeper problems.

There are lots of things going on here – such as the admittance that the family got booted from one dentist because the kids were hellions. But this tragic story boils down to the same Medicaid complaints that physicians list.

Who wants to take Medicaid?

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