The Free Press, Mankato, MN

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March 5, 2013

My View: Cavities off the charts without accountability

(Continued)

MANKATO —

Just these dollar figures from dental emergency room visits and money returned back to the state of Minnesota by UCare would have been able to take care of 716,000 children’s dental visits.

There is more than one insurance company that wins the state contract to manage health care dollars for the poor. With the combination of dental emergency room visits, UCare returning money back to the state and other insurance companies involved in caring for the poor, there is enough tax dollars available for the poor to care for their dental health.

What is concerning is that the insurance companies that win the bid to manage these health care tax dollars do not have to be audited. You can thank our elected officials and lobbyist that passed a law years ago that prohibits an audit to occur for the insurance companies that win the bid. However, all health-care providers in the state of Minnesota are consistently being audited by Minnesota Department of Revenue to make sure that they are making the correct 2 percent provider health-care tax payment.

The insurance company that wins the state insurance bid doesn’t have to be audited but the health care provider does?

The state of Minnesota is making sure it is collecting the money but it doesn’t account for the money that is spent. Meanwhile, the children and our poor people of Minnesota suffer. Our elected officials don’t value dental health and they don’t believe auditing the insurance companies is important. If they did care, then there would be care.

Accountability for tax dollars and the dental team is not the only answer to solve this dental disease. Parents need mandatory nutritional education so they can properly care for their children. Two dental visits a year is not going to change habits at home. It only will be a Band-Aid to the out-of-control lifestyles.

If government benefits are received, then they will need to participate in daily healthy nutritional activity. Until everyone is accountable, cavities will be off the charts and the dental disease will never be managed.

Margaret Flor is administrator of Prairie Dental Arts in Waseca.

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