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Minnesota Dental Association battles cuts to state dental programs for the poor

Noting that 225,000 Minnesotans received dental care at safety net clinics in 2009 and that the funding for that program — which helps the elderly, those with disabilities and the unemployed — has been dramatically cut this year, the Minnesota Dental Association is urging legislators to restore some of the money.

A well-produced video on the MDA website shows some of those who’ve been helped by the program, and what its loss will mean.

A woman with spina bifida says: “I can’t afford to pay for the dentist and what is the state for if they won’t help us?”

And notes a dental professional, looking at trays of false teeth of indigent patients needing repair, notes: “If they can’t chew, what are we going to ask them eat, mush?”

Other advocacy groups for the poor, people with disabilities and the elderly are also drumming up support to stave off some of the drastic cuts to health and human services that came last year and are currently contemplated to solve the budget deficit.

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Comments (3)

  1. Submitted by Rebecca Hoover on 03/05/2010 - 11:57 pm.

    This is a great article. Thanks for writing it. The video is outstanding. I hope we all try to get others to watch that video. It gives reality to the real suffering, pain and agony many will experience as a result of the Pawlenty and Republican cuts in social programs in Minnesota.

    The reality of these budget cuts are seniors who live out the end of their lives suffering unnecessary pain and misery. Cruel, cruel, cruel. How can these Republicans be so sadistic? Or is evil the right word?

  2. Submitted by dan buechler on 03/06/2010 - 02:43 pm.

    With the economy of 2009 NPR reported dentists are seeing more people with cracked teeth due to nighttime grinding brought on by anxiety.

  3. Submitted by Bernice Vetsch on 03/08/2010 - 02:40 pm.

    The Minnesota Dental Association might look into joining one of the groups that fights for single-payer health care (which would include dental, mental, long term care, et cetera).

    They might start by visiting the web sites for Physicians for a National Health Plan ( and the Minnesota Universal Health Care Coalition (

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