Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Affordable Dental Care Unavailable To One-Third Of Americans: Report

More than 100 million Americans do not go to the dentist for checkups and cleanings because of the cost, according to PBS FRONTLINE and the Center for Public Integrity. As a result, many go broke trying to afford dental care or suffer from extreme pain. Some die....
Forgoing dental care sometimes is fatal. Kyle Willis, a 24-year-old father from Cincinnati, died from a tooth infection last year because he could not afford antibiotics or to get the tooth pulled out, according to ABC News. He was unemployed and had no health insurance. The infection spread, caused his brain to swell and then killed him.
Read it at The Huffington Post
Affordable Dental Care Unavailable To One-Third Of Americans: Report
by Bonnie Kavoussi

And nothing on the table to address this.

13 comments:

DAB said...

I have dental insurance and I can't afford to go to the dentist!

I found out that just because they say they will cover $1500 in a year does not mean you can afford to get that much dental work.

I had to get a dentist credit card to cover about $1500 just to get them to cover $600. The day I'm rich enough to actually afford to get the full $1500 in coverage is going to be a long way off.

If I get into a car crash or something I will simply have to go toothless despite having coverage.

beowulf said...

Well, as I've written before, Medicare for All funding should be used by the Fed as a fiscal policy lever that has the unavoidable side effect of providing universal healthcare.
http://mikenormaneconomics.blogspot.com/2012/04/beowulf-mmt-jg-medicare-mmt.html

Letsgetitdone said...

Look,we need to get rid of the insurance companies, period and have either Medicare for all of National Health Insurance. Should have done it 40 years ago.

Btw, however, if the guy had had health insurance he could have had the infection covered that way and gotten antibiotics.

Matt Franko said...

Beo I guess there are many ways we can account for things.

But what seems to be missing is authoritative leadership that for instance would read the outrageous story in Tom's post here and simply pledge "not on my f-ing watch"... the more this goes on the more it looks to me that this is where libertarianism gets us, ie nowhere.

rsp

Pete said...

They can't afford it because they live in states that can't print their own currency.

Tom Hickey said...

The reason we have the health care system we do is because unions fought for coverage, but they pushed it as an employee benefit rather than a government mental program. So we got the rag-tag system we have, when companies turned to insurance providers instead of providing their own coverage.

Except Henry J. Kaiser. Kaiser Permanente starts as a company health plan provided and administered vertically by Kaiser for its employees and later make available to the public.

Now that private unions have lost bargaining power, a great many workers are now uninsured or underinsured by their employers, who are also cutting back on such benefits. The self-employed are left to themselves and many people simply cannot afford insurance at all.

Dental was never covered so it is in its own category. The null category.

Highly ineffective and dismally efficient.

In other words a social travesty that is putting the US on the path to becoming a failed state.

Dan Kervick said...

Teeth are overrated, sayeth the overlords.

Let's just yank out the teeth of the masses, and give them Soylent Gruel to slurp down for their requisite nutrition. The chewing of gastronomic delectables should be reserved for the advanced mouths of the plutonomists.

Tom Hickey said...

Pete: "They can't afford it because they live in states that can't print their own currency."

Very astute. Anything provided by a US state or municipality must be funded from revenue or financed with debt in the currency, which it doesn't provide.

So unless the federal govt steps in, states will be severely hampered in the essential services than can provide.

This is way federal grants to the states are crucial in the US and they are presently insufficient to the task.

Trixie said...

Tom, your thoughts and prediction on the Supreme Court decision regarding Obamacare?

Tom Hickey said...

Pretty much irrelevant. The more sweeping the better, since then it is far more likely that the US will go to Medicare for all more quickly.

I think Obamacare is an atrocious give-away to the insurance co's, even though many provisions are beneficial. But it is the wrong way to ge to them.

I think that it would be fine if the mandate is declared unconstitutional. I never supported and predicted what would happen politically because of it. And as Howard Dean says, it is not actually necessary anyway. Vermont does it without an individual mandate.

The key is to move health care from employers. This is a crazy thing to keep in place in a competitive global environment where other countries don't burden their private sector like this.

Then it becomes more obvious that single payer Medicare for all is the way to go. Obviously needs to have a dental component, too. In the meanwhile, people needing expensive dental treatment should go the medical tourism route. One of my friends went to India for some implants just a couple of months ago. He is an experienced traveler, so it was a no-brainer for him when he got the estimate here.

An option in the US is university dental school clinics. The work is excellent, and they generally bill at about half the going rate. Of course, any really complicated stuff involving dental surgery is done by dentists enrolled in a post-grad program.

John Zelnicker said...

Right, Tom. The insurance companies don't really add anything positive to the provision of health care. They add costs, including their profit, and they're the ones who run the "death panels" by denying coverage.

Just saw a column in the local paper by Cal Thomas criticizing the British NHS system. However, he said nothing to connect the criticisms to the fact that it is a single-payer system. In fact, with my limited knowledge of how NHS works, I don't think the single-payer part has anything to do with their problems. Their problems seem to be related to the supply of doctors and the payment rates.

beowulf said...

"Just saw a column in the local paper by Cal Thomas criticizing the British NHS system."

Which reminds me of this...
"The physicist Stephen Hawking is defending Britain’s National Health Service after an editorial in Investor’s Business Daily said Mr. Hawking “wouldn’t have a chance in the U.K.,” where the health service would have deemed his life “essentially worthless.”
The problem with the editorial, of course, is that Dr. Hawking, the author of “A Brief History of Time,” is very much a Briton — born in Oxford and currently a professor at the University of Cambridge."

Leverage said...

LOL-America! Even with all the crisis we don't have these problems in socialist Europe (also competition from public sector instead of sponsoring of loot by the government is good for private healthcare/insurance business customers).

Don't know if this will last with all the neoliberal politicians and technocrats creating chaos though.