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As California Goes, So Goes The Nation Without Reform

Anthony Wright is executive director of Health Access California, the statewide health care consumer advocacy coalition. He blogs daily at the Health Access WeBlog and is a regular contributor to the Treatment. 

While July has been a month of promise as committees pass out health reform proposals at the federal level, there has been a stark contrast with the carnage in California.

On July 1, nearly 3 million Californians--mostly low-income parents, seniors, and people with disabilities--lost ten key benefits in their Medi-Cal coverage. The biggest concern is dental coverage, which over 900,000 of these patients use in a given year. Other benefits these patients lost include podiatry, optometry, psychology, and speech therapy.

All of these cuts are foolish: Dental coverage allows for better nutrition and prevents emergency room visits. Podiatry is an early warning signal for diabetes, etc. But these decisions don’t even meet the “penny-wise” clich