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Is the number of Medicaid providers really that important?

Published:January 26, 2016DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.adaj.2016.01.004
      One of the most significant trends within the US health care system in the past decade is the remarkable increase in dental care use among children enrolled in Medicaid. Nationally, the percentage of children enrolled in Medicaid who visited a dentist within the past 12 months increased from 29% in 2000 to 48% in 2013, the latest year for which data are available. The trend is widespread across states, with all but 1 state experiencing an increase over this time frame. As a result, the gap in dental care use between children enrolled in Medicaid and those who are privately insured has been narrowing steadily. In fact, there are 2 states—Hawaii and Texas—where children enrolled in Medicaid are more likely to visit a dentist than are children with private dental benefits. Perhaps most significantly, this shift has been happening during a time when the number of children enrolled in Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program has been increasing steadily. In 2013, nearly 4 of 10 children in the United States were enrolled in Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program compared with 2 of 10 in 2000.

      American Dental Association. Health Policy Institute. The oral health care system: a state-by-state analysis. Available at: http://www.ada.org/en/science-research/health-policy-institute/oral-health-care-system?source=VanityURL. Accessed January 4, 2016.

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      Biography

      Dr. Vujicic is the chief economist and vice president, Health Policy Institute, American Dental Association, 211 E. Chicago Ave., Chicago, IL 60611.