Wednesday, October 10, 2007

The Horrors of Socialized Medicine, Cont.

One of the main tenets of American political discourse is that Socialist Medicine must be avoided at all costs, lest we be subjected to Endless Waiting Times and Denial of Care by Government Bureaucrats. It would truly be a shame if we had some form of government-run health care. Take dentistry, for example. Imagine if we had a government-run dental system. It's my guess that you would see people waiting for months even for major surgery on decaying teeth, millions of Americans going without routine care, and even some children dying from a lack of treatment.

Oh, wait-- that's the system we have now:

For American dentists, times have never been better.

The same cannot be said for Americans’ teeth.

With dentists’ fees rising far faster than inflation and more than 100 million people lacking dental insurance, the percentage of Americans with untreated cavities began rising this decade, reversing a half-century trend of improvement in dental health.

Previously unreleased figures from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that in 2003 and 2004, the most recent years with data available, 27 percent of children and 29 percent of adults had cavities going untreated. The level of untreated decay was the highest since the late 1980s and significantly higher than that found in a survey from 1999 to 2002.

Despite the rise in dental problems, state boards of dentists and the American Dental Association, the main lobbying group for dentists, have fought efforts to use dental hygienists and other non-dentists to provide basic care to people who do not have access to dentists.

For middle-class and wealthy Americans, straight white teeth are still a virtual birthright. And dentists say that a majority of people in this country receive high-quality care.

But many poor and lower-middle-class families do not receive adequate care, in part because most dentists want customers who can pay cash or have private insurance, and they do not accept Medicaid patients. As a result, publicly supported dental clinics have months-long waiting lists even for people who need major surgery for decayed teeth. At the pediatric clinic managed by the state-supported University of Florida dental school, for example, low-income children must wait six months for surgery.

In some cases, the results of poor dental care have been deadly. A child in Mississippi and another in Maryland died this year from infections caused by decayed teeth.

This is why it's so important for Bush to veto S-CHIP. Health insurance for children is just one step down the road to socialized medicine. The next thing you know we might have government-run dentistry. If a few children have to go without health insurance to preserve this fine dental system of ours, so be it.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I don't know about you, but I'm completely against good teeth. What a travesty! People that have straight, white teeth look totally unnatural. Maybe we should take this a step further and outlaw dentistry.

But probably not.