Lack of universal dental care hole that can be repaired


Health care consumers fall through the gaps in health care when it comes to getting their teeth checked.

The Consumers Health Forum (CHF) calls on the government to address the oral health deficit as a fundamental part of healthcare by including dental coverage in Medicare.

Currently, dental care is not part of health insurance, which creates additional barriers for people with access to regular dental care.

Consumers Health Forum CEO Leanne Wells said access to dental care is a vital preventative health measure, as regular appointments allow for oral health checks, professional cleaning and dental care.

“Dental care is unaffordable for many Australians and they lack timely dental checkups and treatments that can reverse damage and rehabilitate diseased teeth and gums,” Ms Wells said.

According to the National Oral Health Alliance (NOHA), of which CHF is a member organization, 30% of Australians go without regular dental care due to cost, lack of services and other barriers.

It is widely recognized that not seeing a dentist regularly is associated with poorer health outcomes.

Access to affordable dental care further alleviates pain, damage and discomfort. Poor dental health is also proven to impact a range of significant health issues such as heart and lung disease, stroke, serious conditions experienced by pregnant women, and oral cancer.

There are economic benefits to investing in dental health care, with many hospitalizations preventable from dental causes.

“CHF calls for a universal health plan that treats oral care the same as any other medical condition,” Ms Wells said.

“Health care consumers who have access to publicly funded dental care experience long wait times to access the care they need,” she said.

“But many low-income people don’t meet the strict eligibility requirements for public dental plans.”

“CHF wants to see dental care integrated into Medicare, so people can be reimbursed when they access dental health services,” she said.

“We call on the government to establish a pathway to universal dental health care, and while we recognize this is a major undertaking, it can be achieved and managed effectively using a phased approach,” said said Ms. Wells.

“Cost barriers can be overcome with staged integration and long-term value for the healthcare system would be recouped,” she said.

“We suggest introducing during the first twelve months a dental benefit scheme for income assistance recipients and low-income adults, similar to the current dental benefit scheme for children. This could be a first step towards absorbing dental care into Medicare,” Ms Wells said.

“This program, which has been identified as part of the CHF election platform, would provide basic dental care with capped funding and provider choice for the first twelve months,” she said. .

“This is critical and urgent health care reform that should be prioritized,” she said.

“Taking these thoughtful steps to provide better access and affordability to oral health care will be an important step towards addressing disadvantage and health inequities for people on income assistance and low incomes. income,” Ms Wells said.

/Public release. This material from the original organization/authors may be ad hoc in nature, edited for clarity, style and length. The views and opinions expressed are those of the author or authors. See in full here.

Comments are closed.