It seems that dental care is being overlooked by both the governments of Australia and the US. The Sydney Morning Herald is reporting that The Australian government under Kevin Rudd is sitting on a report from his government that addresses the need for dental care for all Australians. The report was issued by the National Health and Hospitals Reform Commission in July. The report calls for Denticare, a system that would resemble medicare and provide $3.6 billion per year for everything from cleanings to dentures, but mostly certainly not dental implants, implant dentures or veneers. The Denticare plan could face opposition though, because it calls for a 0.75 increase in medicare tax, this would amount to an increased tax of $45o for those making $60,000 a year. When pressed on the Denticare issue raised by a resident of Darwin, Rudd admitted that the plan would cost ‘a lot of money.’ The Prime Minister hinted that his government would try to introduce a dental plan for retirees, but everyone under retirement age would have to obtain dental care through the current models.
Over in the US many dentists and consumers are waiting to see if there is any dental coverage in the health insurance plan set to be signed into law by President Obama this week. At the time of writing this post there did not seem to be any mention of dental or vision in the US Health Care Act. The act itself is a bit difficult to find and there is no mention of it on the US Congress homepage, which is surprising in that it has been heralded as the most significant piece of social legislation is decades. According to a piece in the Washington Post from Summer 2009, it seems like a remote possibility that dental care will be in the health care bill passed this week. In that article, the dentists interviewed felt that dental care was being overlooked in the bill that was floating around congress at the time. One of the reasons that this incarnation of the bill passed is that legislators could show that the bill would lower the deficit over time, this would seem unlikely if dental and vision coverage were added to the bill. With that said maybe a dental cleaning and a pair of GI glasses are in the bill somewhere. Once this blog has the definitive yes or no to the question, we will pass it along.