Look Ma: No Teeth… No Future!

A close friend of the family recently got some bad news. She was told that gum disease and bone loss had caused her five molars to be infected. The only recourse was to have them all pulled out. Even gum surgery would not help at this point. She learned a few years ago, from her visit to the hygienist, that the condition of her gums, coupled with bone loss, was not good. Yet, she could not afford the (outrageous) cost of around $7,000 to have the work done. So, like many in her financial position, she did the best she could by using the waterpik with hydrogen peroxide and regular flossing, etc. If she had even decent dental insurance, at a reasonable cost, perhaps she would not be in her current situation.

This writer can sympathize with the fact she already had three teeth pulled. I myself have four such spaces where a tooth used to be. Why? Well, the cost of having a tooth pulled ($150 to $250) is not the same as $1000+ for a root canal and $1000 + for a crown. Or, how about $2500 for an implant? How many more of us out there are walking around with similar dental situations? Yet, so few of us will demand to have government do what governments were actually set up to accomplish: be our safety net when troubles arise.

As far as medical care goes, Obamacare only helps those not earning much at all, and even that help is very limited. Obama and his party could have “gone for the gusto” and used “the bully pulpit” to rally public support for an extension of Medicare for any American who wished to buy in. At the same time they could have insisted on including dental care in the mix. The actual cost to the consumer would be much lower and with much better coverage than under any private insurance plan, except of course a Cadillac plan that only the very few can afford.

Alas, our corporate empire controlling our two-party system would never allow such an idea to flower and grow. Obama in 2008, when he ran for president, received almost three times more in donations than McCain received from the health care industry. Does anyone then wonder why Obama turned away from a single payer plan as quickly as he did? The real sin of it all is the subject of deductibles. Yes, perhaps the charge for a doctor visit is nonexistent or with a very low co-pay, but what happens if you need hospitalization or surgery? How much money must come out of your pocket before the insurance kicks in? If your deductible is less than $2,000, then you have a better plan than the majority of Americans. One would surmise that your deductible is most likely well over $2,000. Check it out.

We have a situation in America whereupon our local towns, cities and states are out of funding for basic services. New York City, once the beacon of progressive services, does not even keep the libraries open seven days a week. More cuts are on the way.

Here in Florida they just passed a bill to raise the sales tax by one percent. You see, once upon a time, Uncle Sam was able to send more of our federal taxes collected right back to each state (Federal Revenue Sharing) to help subsidize our libraries, schools, infrastructure and first providers like police, firefighters, EVACS, etc. Oh, and yes, maybe even some funding could have been set aside to jump start a Medicare for all who want in option, with of course the needed caveat of dental care as well.

The truth of it all is that such a plan would still entail that those who “want in” contribute via their Federal Insurance Contributions Act payments, so the false argument of “free rides” is hogwash! Those great changes will never occur so long as we continue to use over 50 percent of our federal taxes on military spending, whereupon the cost of keeping one soldier in Afghanistan for one year is $1.2 million dollars, and the soldier gets perhaps $30,000 of that. The rest goes down the toilet of crony contracts and overkill militarism. How much longer can our fellow Americans simply “take it”? As Bob Dylan sang, “It’s Alright, Ma (I’m Only Bleeding)”!