Letters to the Editor

Dear Editor,

Thanks for providing me the opportunity to set the record straight over your
piece entitled “The Secret Lives of Dentists.” To be sure, the title was a
clever play on the movie with the same name, but if the piece was a movie,
Siskel and Ebert likely would have given it two thumbs down. I recognize,
however, that reporters, like legislators, are under the gun of deadlines
during the waning hours of the last week of session and I offer this letter
as not only a little playful ribbing, but also to correct some serious
factual errors contained in your article.

Everyone around the building knows I’m extremely proud to be a member of the
dental profession. Moreover, I’m equally proud of my years of advocacy on
behalf of the California Dental Association, and I make no apologies for our
efforts to ensure that California’s dental patients have the best access to
oral health care in the country.

I won’t give you grief over some of the minor errors. I’ll simply address
what I view as the substantive policy error contained in the piece.

Your article states that, pursuant to the provisions of AB 1433, “the state
will apply for at least $2 million in federal matching funds to actually
send low-income kids to dentists.” This is not accurate, as the funding
already has been secured. Gov. Schwarzenegger’s enacted 2006-07 budget
included a total of $2 million (state and federal funds combined) for
increased utilization of both Denti-Cal and Healthy Families pursuant to the
requirements of AB 1433.

Thanks again for letting me set the record straight. You’re building a great
paper and I look forward to working with you to get it right next time so
that it becomes even better.

Bill Emmerson
Assembly member, 63rd District

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