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News USA

US President Barack Obama speaking at the annual convention of the American Medical Association last week in Chicago. (DTI/Photo Ted Grudzinski,AMA)
5 Comments Jun 19, 2009 | News USA

Americans support dental coverage in health care reforms

Post a comment by Daniel Zimmermann, DTI

LEIPZIG, Germany/WASHINGTON, DC, USA: Over 60 per cent of Americans consider dental coverage part of an overall health care reform by the Obama legislation, a new public opinion survey has shown. The poll released at the launch of National Smile Month in June and commissioned by Oral Health America revealed that four in five adults agree that dental benefits are as important as general medical benefits in an overall health care benefit package.

Many poor and lower-middle class families in the US currently do not receive enough dental care, in part because dentists prefer patients who have private insurance or can pay in cash. The lack of dental care is also not restricted to the poor, recent data shows. Experts on oral health say that about 100 million Americans have no access to adequate care.

In a recent letter to US president Barrack Obama, the American Dental Association (ADA), which represents over 157,000 dentists in the US, recently urged the government to pay more attention to dental health care in the ongoing health-policy debate. “Acknowledging that the majority of Americans have access to excellent and relatively affordable dental care […], we are compelled to point out that too many low-income Americans still suffer needlessly from dental disease,” the letter states. “More must be done to ensure that all Americans have access to quality oral-health services.”

The ADA recommends increasing funding to the nationwide Medicaid health programme, rebuilding the public dental-health infrastructure and supporting community-based prevention measures, such as fluoridation or school-based education programmes.

Obama’s health care reform initiative aims to extend health coverage to 45 million uninsured people in the US, as well as to preserve consumer choice and lower rising health care costs, by cutting more than US$200 billion in reimbursements to hospitals over the next decade. He has also announced his support of the introduction of a public health insurance plan, a concept similar to the failed health care plan developed by his current Secretary of State and former First Lady Hillary Clinton back in 1994.

The government’s health-care reform proposals are opposed by the US Congress and other organisations like the American Medical Association, who say that the realisation would cost US$1 trillion over ten years and still leave millions of people uninsured.

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  • Elizabeth Horton Apr 16, 2012 | 10:01:05 PM

    My problem is that, when I contact the State of Delaware, they can tell me of nowhere in the county of Sussex where I can get help based on my income (retirement and SS). I find myself in the middle. I can pay my bassic bills but no dentist will see me unless I can give them cash up front. My front teeth are rotting. I treat my pain with tylennol. I am ashamed to visit my grandchildren because of my tooth decay. I don't know how this is affecting the rest of my body. I have gone to federal websites-Barack Obama, the Vice-President's. Joe Biden, my former State Representative, but they offer no easy way to contact them about this issue. I feel abondomed by my state and federal government. Please help me-give me a way to speak. I know that the press is owned by corporate america. Is there an alternative?

  • Janie Graham, Hillsboro/USA Sep 2, 2011 | 4:22:19 PM

    I think it's so important to get some kind of dental coverage in health care reforms. I think dental care needs to be thought of as being more medical because major problems and decay in the teeth can totally affect other parts of the body. It just all combines together. I know my <a href="http://lesmile.net">dentist</a> wishes his patients could have more coverage so that he could make sure everybody has good teeth.

  • Abe Dumanis, D.S., D.D.S.,Skokie, IL, USA Jan 1, 2010 | 1:34:00 AM

    When Russian comedian Yakov Smernov had been asked: "Is it true that the medicine in the former Soviet Union is free?" the answer was : "Shure, and you get what you paid for". Is it not the American expression : "There is not such thing as the free lunch."? Why is it absolutely necessary for some people to go through their own experience in order to face the reality?

  • Danny O'Keefe Jackson,MS USA Nov 18, 2009 | 7:13:48 PM

    I am sorry for your disability and appreciate your 25 yrs of work. I hate the "illegals" situation. They are criminals breaking the law. They are taking benefits away from Americans citizens. Where do you live ? Are you a member of a church ? They often help their members. There is a church backed clinic that i work in that helps people in your situation. I listen to my patients and try to work out situations. Did you have a regular dentist and talk with him about how he might help ? We have a dental school in our town that can help some patients while working with students. There is an organization called Donated Dental Services that many dentists participate in.

  • Carol Dobson Jul 11, 2009 | 4:06:45 AM

    Here's the problem with Medicaid as it now stands. It is based on formularies of the late 1960's. In the late '60's, my monthly S.S.D. payments would have been a tidy sum. Medicaid's "spend-down" or "surplus" rules are based in these old formularies. With my S.S.D. payments being what they are, this so-called monthly "Spend-Down" I would have to pay is currently $265.00 Ergo: I have to pay $265. before Medicaid pays for anything -- like dental work. As a restult, I have had no routine care for several years and now need six extractions, a full upper plate and lower partial plate. I recently had a dental emergency which took me to a hospital emergency room and their clinic performed the extraction. When I asked about the ball-park cost of what I would need to restore my teeth, the estimate was $1,120. (This is one of the best estimates I've gotten.) I would have to go into my rent budget for three months to do this -- and then face eviction. If would have been better off if I never worked a day in my life or came to this country as an illegal immigrant; they are covered. That's what one gets for working twenty five years and becoming disabled, I guess. 'Seem fair to you?

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