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Florida Medicaid Kids Miss Out On Dentist

Jenna Pascoli, a third-year dental student at the The Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine School of Dental Medicine in Bradenton, treats a student at the school's clinic.
Daylina Miller
/
WUSF
Jenna Pascoli, a third-year dental student at the The Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine School of Dental Medicine in Bradenton, treats a student at the school's clinic.

Children who get health insurance through Medicaid go to the dentist about half as often as children in Florida who have private insurance, according to a new study out from the American Dental Association and the Health Policy Institute.

There are plenty of dentists in Florida, but only about 10 percent accept Medicaid, said study co-author Marko Vujicic. On average, Medicaid pays about a third of what private insurance pays.

“To me as an economist, it’s not rocket science,” Vujicic said. “If you design the policy parameters in such a way that it becomes difficult for the providers to participate you are not able to leverage all that excess capacity in the system that clearly exists in my view.”

Sammy Mack is a reporter with WLRN in Miami. WLRN is a partner with Health News Florida, which receives support from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

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