With Obamacare safely in place, Washington Post columnist Harold Pollack of the Century Foundation is now calling for Obamateeth. That’s right – it’s time for you to chip in to provide dental coverage to 85 million Americans. Pollack writes:
Regular Wonkblog readers know that poor access to dental care is a national problem. By one estimate, 85 million Americans lack dental coverage. Tooth problems are leading causes of school absence, missed workdays, and emergency department use.
After recognizing that raising Medicaid reimbursement rates will do little or nothing to raise the number of insured, given dentists’ lack of interest in dealing with government paperwork, Pollack endorses a host of government-led solutions:
There are good reasons to raise Medicaid reimbursement, not least to fairly pay providers for their work… One might also expand services provided by mid-level providers known as dental therapists… Other options deserve attention, too. Expanding dental residencies and the overall dental workforce would help. Government at all levels could also expand direct public provision of basic dental services, for example by expanding dental clinics located in Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) and other facilities in high-need communities. Specialized clinics now serve individuals with HIV/AIDS and for the homeless. The Affordable Care Act included $11 billion in new funds between 2011 and 2015 to support FQHCs. Expanded dental care was one component of these efforts. More could be done.
Soon, those on the left will be calling for government sponsored gym memberships.
Ben Shapiro is Editor-At-Large of Breitbart News and author of the New York Times bestseller “Bullies: How the Left’s Culture of Fear and Intimidation Silences America” (Threshold Editions, January 8, 2013).