health care reform Archives - The Wealthy Dentist

Dental Care Reform: Senate To Require Dental Veneers

Cosmetic Dentistry USA: dental veneers for all AmericansIn an unexpected bipartisan move, Democratic and Republican senators will announce on April 1st that they will supplement the health care reform bill with a comprehensive reform of dental care in the USA.

“Americans are typically considered to have perfect teeth,” said Senator McGrin (R-CA) at a press conference Tuesday. “What is at stake is nothing less than our country’s international reputation.”

“We will do whatever it takes to stay #1 in the world,” agreed Senator Smilestein (D-NY), also speaking at the press conference. “Our plan will guarantee dental veneers for every man, woman and child in the US.”

Under the proposed plan, dental veneers would become mandatory for all Americans in 2014.

Well-known for having a perfect smile himself, President Barack Obama is expected to support the bill.

Cosmetic dentistry is a right!” declared Sen. McGrin. “For too long, dental makeovers have been limited to those who can afford them. It’s simply not fair. Mandatory veneers will level the playing field, teeth-wise.”

Those who have had braces or who have naturally perfect teeth may be able to apply for a special waiver. However, these individuals would be required to undergo yearly exams from a cosmetic dentist. At the first sign of decay or yellow teeth, porcelain veneers would be immediately required.

But not everyone is thrilled with the new legislation. In fact, Tea Party conservatives and ACLU liberals have joined forces to protest the bill. “Requiring cosmetic dentistry is un-American,” declared Glenn Beck of Fox News. “I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I completely agree with Glenn Beck,” replied the president of the ACLU.

“Who is going to pay for universal cosmetic dentistry?” asked Beck. “The Congressional Budget Office has projected that mandatory veneers or lumineers for all Americans will cost the country half a trillion dollars over the next five years. High-income Americans are taxed enough already. And don’t think that higher taxes to pay for this will be limited to people in the upper income brackets. You’re going to see tax increases for middle-income Americans also, if this goes through.”

While the National Dental Organization supports the measure, opponents have loudly challenged the measure. “What’s next?!? Dental implants and dentures for children? Braces for seniors?” demanded one protester. “Why should fat-cat dentists get a special break?”

James Du Molin, president of dental website TheWealthyDentist.com, replied, “Dentists, like other small business owners, are the backbone of our economy. Why are we bailing out banks and other megacorporations? It’s small businesses, like the privately-owned dental office, that create 80% of the new jobs in America.”

Overall, Senators McGrin and Smilestein remain unfazed. “Government-sponsored veneers are the perfect blend of socialism and capitalism,” said Sen. Smilestein. “We’re confident that this solution will satisfy everyone… and cement America’s position of having the best-looking teeth in the world!”

Dental Insurance and Obama Care: Who’s Right?

Dental Insurance and Obama CareThe National Journal is reporting that the National Association of Dental Plans is spending more than $1 million on a campaign to change a provision in the health care law that they feel will require some people to buy duplicate dental insurance coverage.

Let me repeat…The dental benefits trade organization is spending $1,000,0000 to hire a lobbying firm to convince the Obama administration to fix the provision by the end of 2011.

Is this a good thing? Click here for a 92-page white paper “Road Map” with Delta Dental as a co-sponsor.

The NADP is concerned that, starting in 2014, the almost 44 million people who receive pediatric dental coverage through small business employers will also have to buy coverage through the new health insurance exchanges. It is asking regulators to clarify that their existing coverage meets the law’s requirements.

“Truthfully, this is the No. 1 issue for our industry,” said NADP executive director Evelyn Ireland. “It is the most crucial thing for us to get done.”

NADP wants to ensure that people will be allowed to keep their existing dental insurance coverage under the new health care, a promise President Obama repeatedly made during the heath insurance reform debate.

For a multitude of reasons I have never been a big fan of Delta Dental. However, after reviewing the 92-page white paper I think there may be some merit to this $1,000,000 argument.

Before, I make up my mind, I would like some pro or con feedback from our readers.

Please post your comments below.

Dental Care: California Medi-Cal Cut Dental Coverage for 3 Million

California Medi-Cal Cut Dental CoverageThe Los Angeles Times is reporting that ever since California cut coverage for 3 million Medi-Cal recipients two years ago, dentists say patients now wait until infections become so severe they must visit emergency rooms or their teeth must be pulled.

In the Los Angeles Times article, Nagaraj Murthy, a dentist in Compton for the past 32 years, states that ever since California cut back dental coverage, he has lost about half of his adult patients because they don’t have money to pay for dental treatments. He doesn’t charge these patients for preliminary comprehensive exams but said he can’t afford to provide free dental treatment.

The highly anticipated healthcare reforms are not expected to help.

California’s Medi-Cal program no longer pays for X-rays, root canals, dentures, fillings or cleanings. As a result, some dental patients are having their teeth pulled instead of repairing or replacing them.

The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research states that 12% of U.S. adults 20 to 64 have not been to the dentist within the past 5 years.

For more on this story see: Reduced State Dental Benefits Create Dire Situation for Patients.

Dentist Believes Dental Insurance is Wonderful (video)

Dentist Believes Dental Insurance is Wonderful (video)The recent U.S. Supreme Court’s 5-4 ruling on the Affordable Care Act has brought dental insurance coverage back into news headlines with approximately one out of every two Americans living without dental insurance.

By now it’s conventional wisdom that the American healthcare system is somewhat broken and most dentists think that dental insurance is at least as broken as medical insurance.

The Wealthy Dentist conducted a survey of dentists asking if dental insurance is just as broken as medical insurance.

Asked one dentist respondent, “At $1,000 per year in benefits, sometimes hardly paying for one tooth, how can you even call it insurance?”

But another dentist disagreed, “Dental insurance is wonderful. People who would never attend the dentist now have good care. The fact that some dentists charge more than the plans pay is their problem. I make my living from dental insurance.”

To hear more of what dentists had to say about dental insurance, Click on Play to watch the following video —

What are your thoughts on dental insurance?  Friend or foe?

Dentists Believe Affordable Care Act Is Really a Tax Increase

Dentists Believe Affordable Care Act Is Really a Tax IncreaseThe recent U.S. Supreme Court’s 5-4 ruling on the controversial Affordable Care Act upholds the healthcare provisions that established minimum health benefit packages and state health insurance exchanges that include pediatric oral health care.

The American Dental Association fought for increased pediatric coverage as part of the Act, including how the “essential dental benefit” for children would be defined.

But many dentists are also small business owners, and while the health care law offers a tax credit to some businesses with 25 or fewer employees, it will also fine businesses with more than 50 workers if they do not provide health care coverage.

Based on these facts, The Wealthy Dentist surveyed dentists to ask if they believe that the Affordable Care Act will help their dental practice.

“It sucks!” responded one Texas dentist, “Hidden in the 2700 pages are literally hundreds of tax increases by cutting deductions, raising or lowering limits to screw us out of more money as increased taxes.”

72% of the dentist respondents answered no, they think the Affordable Care Act will not help their dental practice. 9% felt it will be good for dentistry while the other 19% believe that it is just too soon to tell.

Percentage of dentists think the Affordable Care Act will help dentistry

Small businesses, like dental practices, are responsible for more than half the new jobs created in the U.S. each year. Included in the implementation of the Affordable Care Act are funds for “alternative dental providers” along with funding for training dental hygienists, which may further impact small dental practices.

Here are the dentists’ concerns —

“Are you kidding me? It may help increase my business expenses by requiring me to cover my employees and it may help to increase my taxes in order to pay for it. While I admit there are some limited ways in which it could help me personally I don’t imagine it could help my business at all.” (California dentist)

“This will put additional taxes on an already overburdened middle class! It will limit access to care as we don’t have sufficient doctors to take care of an additional 30,000,000 people. And seniors who have paid into social security and Medicare will see their benefits cut and costs go up. (If you have paid into social security and Medicare, these are not entitlements for you, but guarantees you were given by the government who is now reneging on their promises.)” (Texas dentist)

“This puts us on a track for all dentists to soon be working as governmental employees.” (Louisiana dentist)

“I believe that the increased tax burden on all Americans that directly results from this Act will significantly reduce discretionary dollars for virtually everyone, and will eventually lead to a single payer system that will be even less efficient and more wasteful than the current system. The shame of it all is that care will be rationed and take longer, just like in Canada and Europe. People in the USA will be shocked to learn that just because procedures and techniques exist to treat their medical and dental issues, the “free” insurance will frequently not cover them. Just like every other country that has adopted a similar system, some bean counter will determine if the correct return on investment exists for the government to “allow” you to be treated. It is still true that there is no such thing as a free lunch!” (Illinois dentist)

“Please keep dentistry out of it! It is bad enough that dental insurance is attempting to dictate fees.” (Oklahoma dentist)

“People will be tuned in even more to the idea that everything should be paid for by insurance. On the other hand, the current system is broken and crazy. I hope we aren’t just trading it for more broken, crazy, and unaffordable.” (Washington dentist anesthesiologist)

“It was conceived way too fast. With very little advice from health care professionals.” (General dentist)

“The most interesting comment was that made by Chief Justice Roberts himself, when he said that the voters choose their elected representatives who pass the laws, and it is not the duty of the Supreme Court to rescue the public from the consequences of their own decisions. In other words, the Chief Justice is telling the public to grow up, take the blame for electing bad legislators, and if we don’t like what those elected officials do, it is our own duty to throw them out of office and elect candidates who will vote in accordance with the public’s wishes. We can’t rely on the Supreme Court to correct our own mistakes; we have to do that ourselves. Chief Justice Roberts’ message is a wake-up call to all of us.” (California dentist)

What do you think will fix the current healthcare system? Dentists, we’d love to hear more from you on this subject.

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