Public Comment

The Human Cost of California's "Fixed" Budget

By Russ Tilleman
Friday January 25, 2013 - 09:13:00 AM

Governor Jerry Brown recently congratulated himself for "fixing" the California budget, but he left out some of the details. One of the cuts involved in "fixing" the budget was the removal of essentially all dental care for poor and disabled people. Medicaid used to cover normal dental care like exams, cleanings and fillings, but now it mainly just covers pulling out a poor or disabled person's teeth after they go bad. And the reason they go bad is lack of the preventive care that Medicaid used to cover. 

To be fair to Governor Brown, the removal of dental care from California's Medicaid program was done in 2009, before he came into office. But he hasn't done anything to restore dental care, instead he is spending the money on the California High Speed Rail project. That is not something to be proud of, depriving disabled people of essential dental care. 

A friend of mine is disabled and needs $3000 of fillings soon or else she is going to lose many or most of her teeth. And she doesn't have the money to pay for it. So unless something is done about California's Medicaid, Jerry Brown and will have done the equivalent of punching my friend in the face and busting her teeth out. Basically robbing her of money on the way to her dentist so he can give it to the companies and unions that supported his campaign. 

A 30-year-old woman will spend the rest of her life without teeth that could easily have been fixed. 

This is a major social injustice. I don't believe Brown when he says things like "The ideology of the Republicans is different from the Democrats. They don’t mind the inequality." I think in this case, the ideology of the Republicans and the Democrats is exactly the same. Neither seem to mind the inequality of some people getting to keep their teeth and other people having to lose theirs, just because they are disabled. 

In my opinion, anyone who says the state budget is fixed is a lying hypocrite. 

If Governor Brown won't do anything about this problem, I would like him to at least talk to my friend and explain to her why she will have to lose her teeth, how it's more important to spend the money on high speed rail than on her.