Dentists Among Those Hit Hard By State Budget Impasse

Mar 6, 2017

With no budget, Illinois has racked up a $12 billion tab in unpaid bills and that number is growing. Among those still waiting for their checks: Dentists.

Credit "Dentist" by Flickr User Travis Wise / (CC X 2.0)

Dr. Ronald Lynch runs a family dentistry in Jacksonville. He says the money he’s waiting for is up to $170,000. How far behind is Illinois in paying Lynch?

“We are approximately at November of 2015," Lynch said.

That means a state worker went to see Lynch just after the Kansas City Royals won the World Series, and Lynch has only recently gotten paid for it.

Dr. Elizabeth Knoedler, a dentist in Springfield, says if it’s allowed, most state workers won’t be able make regular visits anymore.

 

“Not everybody has that kind of money laying around to be able to do that. That’s why they’re still paying for their dental insurance," Knoedler said.

A group representing Illinois dentists is behind new legislation. It would make it easier to force state workers pay up front for dental work.

Some practices have already started doing this. But the proposal would cause more patients to be the ones waiting to get paid back by Illinois, not dentists.