Reporter shares insights on covering cuts to Medicaid dental coverage

Mary Otto

About Mary Otto

Mary Otto, a Washington, D.C.-based freelancer, is AHCJ's topic leader on oral health and the author of "Teeth: The Story of Beauty, Inequality, and the Struggle for Oral Health in America." She can be reached at mary@healthjournalism.org.

Photo: Phil King via Flickr

In a recent story for the Lexington Herald-Leader, reporter Will Wright offered a look at the human toll of Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin’s July decision to cut dental and vision benefits for about 460,000 state Medicaid beneficiaries.

The Republican governor announced the cuts after a federal judge blocked his plan to overhaul the state’s Medicaid program by requiring recipients to work or volunteer and pay monthly benefits. In the wake of the dental and vision care cuts, Wright spent time with a local dentist, Misty Clark, and her staff, who had been left scrambling when their patients’ benefits suddenly disappeared. Wright also spoke with one patient, Lynda Joseph, a part-time Wal-Mart worker worried about how her lost coverage would affect her ability to obtain a needed tooth extraction.

Will Wright

In this new Q and A, Wright offers insights into his reporting on Kentucky’s Medicaid program.

As other states eye work requirements and other changes to their programs, Wright’s advice might be useful to colleagues seeking ways to document the impact upon patients and providers.

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