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Why not cover teeth?

By johnboy - 2 May 2012 65

The Greens are asking some sensible questions as to why teeth are excluded from publicly funded healthcare, and trying to get support for a fix up here in Canberra.

“It doesn’t make much sense that teeth should be excluded from the rest of the human body when it comes to healthcare,” Greens Health spokesperson, Amanda Bresnan MLA, said.

“Low income earners are the hardest hit by the high cost of dental care, and this leads to major health problems.

“44% of respondents to the last ACT General Health Survey reported to have delayed using a dentist because they couldn’t afford it. This results in an unnecessary burden on the health system. 7-10% of GP visits are due untreated dental problems.

“If we do not start improving our preventative health measures, like regular dental check-ups, the cost of our health system will continue to skyrocket.

“Today the ACT is being presented with an opportunity to be the first jurisdiction to vote in favour of the Commonwealth Government funding Denticare.

“I’m calling on the other parties to listen to the community and support Denticare. The Assembly should make it clear to the Federal Government that this is a health priority for the people of Canberra,” Ms Bresnan said.

(Cue a bunch of vindictive arseholes huffing and puffing that they worked hard for their dental care and anyone who didn’t work as hard, or get as lucky, should live in pain and die young. Oh and let’s not forget the moral pygmies shouting “I’m allright jack, screw the rest of you”.)

What’s Your opinion?


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65 Responses to
Why not cover teeth?
Gungahlin Al 1:27 pm 02 May 12

quote comment=”403387″]This has always puzzled me.

Dental health is just as important as, well, any other health.

Denticare sounds eminently reasonable and sensible.

However, we have the ‘must be in surplus’ (TM) budget coming up so it won’t happen.

Indeed Thumper. And as this article on The Conversation today shows, poor dental care imposes substantial downstream costs on our community (read: tax base).

People will say we can’t afford it when the government is trying to return the budget to surplus. But the reality is that it would be an investment rather than an expense. Implementing this via this year’s budget would have negligible cost impact this year and for their beloved surplus.

I’ve helped on Greens’ stalls collecting petition signatures supporting this initiative and can say that almost everyone I spoke with signed up. It has almost universal support.

Thumper 12:41 pm 02 May 12

Alderney said :

Jim Jones said :

john87_no1 said :

Alderney said :

Why do I have to pay for someone’s inability to brush their teeth and their desitre to eat s*** food until their teeth rot?

I know this argument could be extented to wider health issues such as, why should I pay for your inability to exercise and desire to eat s*** food until you’re the size of a house with all the health complications that go along with that, but teeth are bloody expensive and supply and demand will say more people making appointments at the dentist means longer waiting times and higher prices.

Unless that is only certain dentists will provide services to the great unwashed (sorry, lower North Shore of Sydney and Eastern Suburbs private school boy superiority complex coming out there).

The same reasons my tax dollars get spent on lower North Shore of Sydney and Eastern Suburbs private schools – personal wealth *shouldn’t* dictate distribution and accessibility of Govt funding/services.

+1

And all that aside. Even people who look after their teeth carefully need to visit the dentist sometimes.

Now, what was the last paragraph in the OP again?

But I don’t use your teeth, and the services on the Lower North Shore of Sydney, or anywhere for that matter, are available for the use of all.

Moreover, parents who send their children to private schools pay taxes for the upkeep of the public eduction system too.

One could argue until the cows come home about for what we contribute and what one uses.

My taxes contribute to lots of things I do not use and I dare say yours do too, so don’t play the cherry-picker with me.

My point is, that personal responsability has to come into it at some stage. If you want me to pay for your teeth, you can hold up your end of the bargin by doing your best to keep them healthy.

A further point is those on the lower end of the socio-economic ladder are in effect net taxation consumers whereas most on the upper end are net taxation contributors.

Think about that next time you stick your hand out of something.

Some people in society simply can’t afford dental care.

Think about that.

Alderney 12:27 pm 02 May 12

Jim Jones said :

john87_no1 said :

Alderney said :

Why do I have to pay for someone’s inability to brush their teeth and their desitre to eat s*** food until their teeth rot?

I know this argument could be extented to wider health issues such as, why should I pay for your inability to exercise and desire to eat s*** food until you’re the size of a house with all the health complications that go along with that, but teeth are bloody expensive and supply and demand will say more people making appointments at the dentist means longer waiting times and higher prices.

Unless that is only certain dentists will provide services to the great unwashed (sorry, lower North Shore of Sydney and Eastern Suburbs private school boy superiority complex coming out there).

The same reasons my tax dollars get spent on lower North Shore of Sydney and Eastern Suburbs private schools – personal wealth *shouldn’t* dictate distribution and accessibility of Govt funding/services.

+1

And all that aside. Even people who look after their teeth carefully need to visit the dentist sometimes.

Now, what was the last paragraph in the OP again?

But I don’t use your teeth, and the services on the Lower North Shore of Sydney, or anywhere for that matter, are available for the use of all.

Moreover, parents who send their children to private schools pay taxes for the upkeep of the public eduction system too.

One could argue until the cows come home about for what we contribute and what one uses.

My taxes contribute to lots of things I do not use and I dare say yours do too, so don’t play the cherry-picker with me.

My point is, that personal responsability has to come into it at some stage. If you want me to pay for your teeth, you can hold up your end of the bargin by doing your best to keep them healthy.

A further point is those on the lower end of the socio-economic ladder are in effect net taxation consumers whereas most on the upper end are net taxation contributors.

Think about that next time you stick your hand out of something.

Tetranitrate 12:25 pm 02 May 12

Yay, the Greens actually pushing something sensible.
It’s very unfortunate that Dental has been effectively left out of the public health system, aside from a couple of tokenistic programs aimed at kids and centrelink recipients.
It’s a really important aspect of public health, and it’s one where prevention is significantly better than a cure. Its absence from government support is a massive hole in the system… a cavity if you will.

Alderney said :

Why do I have to pay for someone’s inability to brush their teeth and their desitre to eat s*** food until their teeth rot?

If you actually believe this is solely the issue and have put it into practice (I don’t need to go to the dentist, I brush and floss!) you should make a booking ASAP.
Plaque will gradually build up no matter how well you brush – you can only minimize it, which is why it’s recommended you go at the very least once a year and preferably every six months so buildup can be removed and any nascent problems identified.

random 12:09 pm 02 May 12

random said :

I know someone who didn’t want to pay for a filling so they waited until it got sufficiently infected that it was done for free at the hospital.

(By which I mean: the rotten tooth and surrounding infected tissue was gouged out under general anaesthetic, an outcome both worse for the patient and substantially more expensive for the health system.)

random 12:08 pm 02 May 12

Alderney said :

Why do I have to pay for someone’s inability to brush their teeth and their desitre to eat s*** food until their teeth rot?

Even if you’re not going to listen to bleeding heart leftists who don’t have talkshows on 2CA, you should be interested in this because you have to pay anyway. I know someone who didn’t want to pay for a filling so they waited until it got sufficiently infected that it was done for free at the hospital. The quote above says that 7-10% of GP visits result from untreated dental problems: your tax dollars, your overburdened health system.

Even if you look after your teeth, it’s valuable to have frequent checkups for a clean, polish and fluoride treatment as well as a quick check to see if something is wrong. Catch a problem early and it can be a small filling without anaesthetic.

Jim Jones 11:46 am 02 May 12

john87_no1 said :

Alderney said :

Why do I have to pay for someone’s inability to brush their teeth and their desitre to eat s*** food until their teeth rot?

I know this argument could be extented to wider health issues such as, why should I pay for your inability to exercise and desire to eat s*** food until you’re the size of a house with all the health complications that go along with that, but teeth are bloody expensive and supply and demand will say more people making appointments at the dentist means longer waiting times and higher prices.

Unless that is only certain dentists will provide services to the great unwashed (sorry, lower North Shore of Sydney and Eastern Suburbs private school boy superiority complex coming out there).

The same reasons my tax dollars get spent on lower North Shore of Sydney and Eastern Suburbs private schools – personal wealth *shouldn’t* dictate distribution and accessibility of Govt funding/services.

+1

And all that aside. Even people who look after their teeth carefully need to visit the dentist sometimes.

Now, what was the last paragraph in the OP again?

john87_no1 11:41 am 02 May 12

Alderney said :

Why do I have to pay for someone’s inability to brush their teeth and their desitre to eat s*** food until their teeth rot?

I know this argument could be extented to wider health issues such as, why should I pay for your inability to exercise and desire to eat s*** food until you’re the size of a house with all the health complications that go along with that, but teeth are bloody expensive and supply and demand will say more people making appointments at the dentist means longer waiting times and higher prices.

Unless that is only certain dentists will provide services to the great unwashed (sorry, lower North Shore of Sydney and Eastern Suburbs private school boy superiority complex coming out there).

The same reasons my tax dollars get spent on lower North Shore of Sydney and Eastern Suburbs private schools – personal wealth *shouldn’t* dictate distribution and accessibility of Govt funding/services.

FioBla 11:21 am 02 May 12

It’s funny to me, how people will harp on about the inefficiencies of government, and the benefits of personal responsibility, free markets. Until the market prices them out. Aside from dental care, a similar thing is happening with childcare.

In fact, the free market approach would be reduction in barriers into the market—i.e. deregulate, encourage lower standards for dentist/dental aides to enter the market, so that they can do basic procedures at less cost. Or encourage the free market to make a buck—e.g. Flight Centre could create special medical tourism combo packages so that people can have their teeth done, a CT scan of their choice, the sights in Phuket and a prostate exam. Or Bunnings could sell teeth fixing epoxy and disposable tools.

If Denticare becomes reality, someone has to manage funding, prevent rorting (more public servants, can’t have that). Someone has to create schemes to encourage dentists to serve rural areas (more meetings, fundings, consultations, or transport assistance schemes for those in the rural). And then if scarce funding is reflected in long wait times (familiar), someone has to juke the stats to meet funding requirements (also familiar).

Essentially what is being proposed is that government act as an insurance company. I would benefit from Denticare, so that’s good. But that good, comes with the “bad” of more government intervention that is frequently complained about here.

As for those in the “centre-right”, some of those already look harshly on Medicare. e.g. NSW elected official: http://www.menzieshouse.com.au/2012/02/medicare-the-loss-of-personal-freedom.html

sarahsarah 11:04 am 02 May 12

Dental care IS expensive – having just recently had braces I can certainly testify to this! Surely basic check-ups every year should be covered at least?

Having the Greens suggest something that isn’t monumentally stupid is a shock to the senses.

Alderney 11:00 am 02 May 12

Why do I have to pay for someone’s inability to brush their teeth and their desitre to eat s*** food until their teeth rot?

I know this argument could be extented to wider health issues such as, why should I pay for your inability to exercise and desire to eat s*** food until you’re the size of a house with all the health complications that go along with that, but teeth are bloody expensive and supply and demand will say more people making appointments at the dentist means longer waiting times and higher prices.

Unless that is only certain dentists will provide services to the great unwashed (sorry, lower North Shore of Sydney and Eastern Suburbs private school boy superiority complex coming out there).

VicePope 11:00 am 02 May 12

Like most health-related issues, this is one where there is lots of room for a standoff between the Commonwealth and the states/territories, with the self-interested violins of the health funds and the dental lobby playing a support part amplified by media hysteria. . My recollection is that promises were made at one point but it probably became too hard.
The other complication is that, when there was a Commonwealth scheme to enable people with dental and other problems to get their teeth fixed, it had to be closed down because of reported wildly excessive overservicing and overcharging by some dentists. (See also the abuse of the Meducare safety net by some medical specialists). It would be irresponsible for any government – Commonwealth or state/territory, Labor or Coalition – to set up something that could be so easily rorted by the unscrupulous,
No, I don’t know what the answer is.

Thumper 10:33 am 02 May 12

This has always puzzled me.

Dental health is just as important as, well, any other health.

Denticare sounds eminently reasonable and sensible.

However, we have the ‘must be in surplus’ (TM) budget coming up so it won’t happen.

neanderthalsis 10:11 am 02 May 12

I hate it when the Greens do something sensible,it offends my centre-right sensibilities.

Basic dental cover through public health makes sense. I had a colleague who headed to Thailand for major dental work simply because they were facing a bill of over 15k here for a number of root canals and crowns. The same cost under 10k in Chiang Mai including flights, accommodation and a decent holiday before the surgery.

buzz819 10:03 am 02 May 12

I’ve always found it puzzling, I had to join private health care before being able afford basic dental care, I mean, I only joined the private health care to avoid a huge medicare bill, so I end up winning any way, but I can understand there is a lot of people who can’t afford either.

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