Thursday, June 1, 2017

May, 2017, Part 4, The Unfolding Disaster That Is Obama Care: The Dental Disaster

Every month for years now we have had to discuss how bad Obama Care is turning out to be under the continuing theme, “the unfolding disaster that is Obama Care.” This month is no different. As the legislation continues to march through America, driving up health care and health insurance prices as it serves as dead weight on economic growth, it cements its rightful place as the worst piece of legislation Washington has ever produced.

It never had a chance to be successful since it really never addressed the underlying root causes of our ever increasing health costs in the country:

  • Americans eat too much of the wrong kind of food, resulting in obscenely high obesity rates for the country.
  • Our food chain is infested with overdoses of high fructose corn syrup, salt, sugar, and other unhealthy additives.
  • Americans smoke too much.
  • Americans do not exercise enough.
  • The country is in serious need of health care tort reform.
  • Barriers to insurance company competition across state lines need to come down.
  • Obama Care never “followed the money” to find out who is actually profiting from the ever escalating healthcare costs in this country and how to get those factors under control.
  • Obama Care never got the immense amount of fraud and abuse in current government healthcare programs, Medicare and Medicaid, under control in order to save money to efficiently fund other government health care initiatives.
  • Obama Care never put serious research money towards curing the major diseases that drive high healthcare costs such as high frequency cancers and dementia type diseases.
You cannot resolve any problem unless you understand and address the underlying root causes. No difference here: Obama Care legislation never addressed these listed root causes and thus, has no chance of ever being successful.

But it is not just missing the root causes of our healthcare costs that makes Obama Care so horrible. It resulted in millions of Americans losing access to their favored doctors, hospitals, and insurance policies. It has caused insurance premiums, deductibles and copays to escalate substantially. It will likely add trillions of dollars to the national debt. It has exposed millions of Americans to higher than necessary identity theft chances. It has created government bureaucracies that are wastefully spending taxpayer wealth and being exploited by criminal elements. It has stifled economic growth and job creation.

These are just a sample of the types of idiocy that we have been reviewing for the past several years in this blog relative to Obama Care., To read those past posts, just enter the phrase, “the unfolding disaster,” in the search box above.

1) Healthcare does not just include diseases of the body, it should also include dental care. Good dental care is not only critical to having healthy teeth but healthy teeth are essential to keeping other parts of the body healthy. Thus, any health care reform effort that has the primary objective of reducing healthcare costs, like Obama Care, has to also be actively trying to improve dental care.

And not surprising, it is an objective that Obama Care also failed miserably at. Consider the highlights from an article that appeared in the June 2, 2017 issue of The Week magazine. The article, “Straight Talk About Teeth,” by Mary Jordan and Kevin Sullivan, followed the effort of Dee Matello to find the semblance of dental care:
  • Matello and her husband own a small vending machine company and earn about $47,000 a year, about half of what they earned prior to the Great Recession.
  • Although they are probably within 5% of the median U.S. household income level, they cannot afford health insurance that includes dental care.
  • She cracked a molar three years ago but since the cost of repair would have likely been hundreds of dollars, she opted to use the family’s limited funds for more important expenses and go without dental care for the molar.
  • She recently waited on line outside of the Wicomico Civic Center in Salisbury, Maryland when dentists from five states were meeting to provide free dental care for those like Matello.
  • The event promised to provide free dental care for the first 1,000 people in line at the Center and Matello was lucky enough and arrived early enough to grab spot 503.
  • She got on line a little before 5:00 am and did not get into the building until 9:44.
  • A little after noon, she was called over to have some basic health checks done like temperature and blood pressure, she was getting close.
  • However, shortly thereafter the announcement was made that only the first 500 in line would be serviced that day, she would have to come back tomorrow for the actual dental work despite waiting on line for over seven hours.
  • Despite the hassle she was grateful to finally have been taken care of and not having to spend the $600 to $800 that the X-ray, exam, and treatment would have cost her out of pocket.

Unbelievable that a working American family has to go through such hoops and hassle to have a single tooth fixed. The article discusses some of the grim realities of dental health in America today, realities that Obama Care obviously did nothing to address or fix:
  • During the event in Salisbury, the volunteer dentists pulled 795 bad and rotting teeth and provided over $1 million in free dental care so kudos to them.
  • Some Americans spend over a billion dollars a year just to make their teeth whiter while one out of five Americans over the age of 65 do not have any teeth at all in their mouth and millions of people like the Matello family do not have access to quality dental care.
  • The problem seems to be far worse in rural areas of this country since these areas tend to be in the lower economic strata and these areas are much more likely to rely on well water (25% of Americans use well water), water that has not been treated with fluoride, an additive to urban and suburban water systems that helps prevent tooth decay.
  • Two million emergency room visits a year are related to dental health emergencies.
  • Since emergency rooms generally are not equipped handle dental emergencies, the patient is usually sent home after being given either antibiotics or opioids to relieve the pain which sometimes leads to the bigger problem of drug addiction because of uncared for teeth problems.
  • The growing opioid addiction in this country also contributes to worst dental health care since drug addiction dries out the mouth which contributes to more cavities.
  • Fifty million Americans today live in government designated Dental Health Professional Shortage Areas where get dental help is often difficult or impossible to get.
  • Of course, the area around Washington D.C. has one of the highest per capita concentration of dentists in the WORLD so the urgency for dental care is lost on the Washington political class.
  • According to the ADA’s Health Policy Institute, more than a third of Americans have not dental health insurance since Medicare does not have dental health insurance, Medicaid in some states does not offer dental health insurance,  and many employer health insurance plans do not cover dental costs.
  • Medicaid does provide dental health insurance in some states, assuming you can find a dentist that accepts Medicaid payments since nationwide only about 38% of dentists accept Medicaid dental patients.
  • And this lack of coverage and related lack of dental care causes an increase in heart disease, eating problems, depression, and other non-dental health issues, further increasing the health care costs in this country.

Obviously, seven years after it was passed, Obama Care has failed to address and remedy this sad chapter in the American health system. Not when average Americans have to wait for days a a time to hopefully get dental treatment from volunteer dentists. Just another Obama Care unfolding disaster.

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