No, Medicare Should NOT Cover Dental Work

This is always a hot topic in Australia. We have such generous healthcare yet people still complain that they have to pay out of pocket for dental work.

While the prospect of having perfect teeth for "free" sounds appealing on paper, everyone seems to ignore the knock-on effects:

  • dentists will actually become more expensive as they'd no longer have any reason to keep their prices low

  • the wait times will be increased because more people will be lining up for their free whitening or to fix a lifetime of poor oral hygiene

  • the quality of care will inevitably decrease as more patients need to be served.

This is the exact same thing we see in hospitals. Nobody goes to the dentist for a mild toothache or because their child is teething. But people willfully clog up the ER thinking they're going to die because of a bad pimple because they know it doesn't cost them anything.

So in the end, the service costs more AND that cost is incurred more often as more people use the service.

Who pays for all that? It comes straight out of your taxes. So you're left paying MORE for an inferior service. It's not just poor economic reasoning, it's a sin of Ozbargain.

Comments

          • @SlavOz: Again, their job is not to make things 'cheap'. Their job is to get rid of the price gouging.

            Your damn right things will be cheaper when they come in with a flat list of charges that dentists can charge. If the dentists want to charge more, they can piss off.

            • -1

              @random12: Why should a dentist not be able to charge what they feel is a worthy fee for their service? Better yet, what makes you entitled to tell them what they can or can't charge? Can I come to your job and force you to take a pay cut?

              Unless you have a degree in dentistry with a fundamental understanding of economics, your quasi-socialist control obsession has no place in this country.

  • In contrast to the spending by the current feds I am happy to see our households tax cover some of this.

  • Yeah, it's pretty bad here compared to other countries. I think you can get wisdom teeth pulled in NZ for free on low income for example. Seems like an entrenched "monopoly" situation, with dentists being private and being able to set their prices. Seen a blog post a while back from an expat English teacher in Japan. They showed their receipt for dental fillings and it was $8 per filling (2011? or so). They have state run and private clinics, so there is competition.

  • SlavOz, I take it you are a picture of health?

    • +2

      For clarification, we're talking physical health here. We know about the others.

      • +1

        He has mentioned before that he's a weak skinny male who visits the ER often. So obviously he's more qualified than your doctor and he is the perfect model human that everyone should aim to be like.

    • Apart from an unexplained gastro issue causing spontaneous ER visits, I'm quite healthy. Not an athlete by any means but I can run the 10kms in just under 50 minutes. My doctor actually told me it would be ideal if I gained a little weight as a safety net.

      So yeah not to brag but I'm probably healthier than the 67% of Australians who are medically overweight or obese

      Actually screw it it I'll brag. I'm very proud of that thanks.

      • +1

        Apart from an unexplained gastro issue causing spontaneous ER visits,

        Take some personal responsibility and improve your diet and lifestyle. You've most likely have visited the ER more than any obese person I know.

        • -3

          The day an obese person can run 10kms in any amount of time, maybe we can talk about health comparisons mate.

          I think you're making it painfully obvious you're one of the fatties in this country (statistically, it's a fair guess since I have a 67% chance of being right, probably even higher given your attitude).

          It's people like you who drag this country down. You're grotesque to look at and you take medical resources away from people who legitimately need a helping hand from something out of their control.

          • @SlavOz: If you have worked hard on your health, by all means, be proud of it. Talking about the medical issues that can come from obesity issues is one thing, however, I think the leap to "grotesque to look at" moves the discussion into a very different arena and one that doesn't contribute positively to the discussion.

          • +1

            @SlavOz:

            You're grotesque to look at and you take medical resources away from people who legitimately need a helping hand from something out of their control.

            One day, you're going to look back at your mentality and attitude at this point in your life and think
            'F$%k me, I was such an A$$.'

          • +2

            @SlavOz:

            I think you're making it painfully obvious you're one of the fatties in this country
            You're grotesque to look at

            Lmao. Wrong as always.
            Mate, I wear size 6/8 clothing, and have only been to the hospital once when I was 7 for asthma (which I no longer have). How much hospitals resources have you taken and wasted, if only you worked on yourself instead of judging everyone else.

            You're so full of hatred it's mentally unhealthy. The words you use, I wouldn't be surprised if someone developed depression or worse because of you. Please Seek help. Learn some empathy.

            • -3

              @Ughhh: Really, so you weren't born in a hospital and used medical resources to be delivered?

              I sense a liar.

              • +1

                @SlavOz: Didn't realise I needed to state the obvious…. Are you deliberately being obtuse?

              • @SlavOz: Also, Australia probably needs more funding/support for depression and suicide awareness, to educate people like you.

  • This is the exact same thing we see in hospitals. Nobody goes to the dentist for a mild toothache or because their child is teething. But people willfully clog up the ER thinking they're going to die because of a bad pimple because they know it doesn't cost them anything.

    ED is different to a community setting like Dentistry. We have a thing called "triage", where you triage based on severity. Public dentists already exists and there is a long wait time because people need dental services. Imagine how good it would be if a mobile dentistry can bulk bill a whole nursing home and fix all nursing home residents teeth. We already have the same services for podiatry, Speech therapy, OT/PT, GP, etc.

  • +1

    You accidentally put a "NOT" in the title. Click the edit button to remove it.

  • +1

    Sorry I'm too busy laughing hysterically after you said dentists' prices are low.

    • They're low enough for most people to wilfully pay them.

      • It depends on what you want done, and what you earn. Fillings, sure. But serious dental work is unaffordable by all but the rich.

        • You really think only rich people have crowns, extractions, dentures, or root canals?

          That's just statistically implausible. Most people you'll ever meet are average middle class earners yet they all have decent teeth.

          I think you're grossly overestimating how much dentists really cost. You can get all 4 wisdom teeth removed for around $2k. Yes it's a fair bit but certainly not out of reach for most people with a job.

          • @SlavOz: SlavOz out here dropping two grand on dental work while "struggling with the cost of living".

          • @SlavOz: Wisdom tooth extraction is hardly the most expensive work a person might need, and $2k will absolutely break people who are living paycheck to paycheck.

            I'm reading that the average cost of a root canal is $990 to $1,600. That's to try and save one tooth. And I can tell you from experience with family that they often fail. Implants cost a lot more pushing most people to opt for dentures instead.

            Check your privilege. Or don't. You'll find out as you get older how "affordable" dental care is.

            • @syousef: Then get the tooth pulled out for $150. Problem solved.

              If you can't take care of your teeth, you don't deserve them, especially not on the taxpayer's dime.

              • @SlavOz: Changing the goal posts hey? Nice.

                We've gone from "You really think only rich people have crowns, extractions, dentures, or root canals?" to "Then get the tooth pulled out for $150. Problem solved." and follow up with "If you can't take care of your teeth, you don't deserve them" as if any kind of problem with a person's teeth could only be due to their own neglect. You probably deserve to learn the hard way, but I won't wish it on anyone. Not even someone with such an extreme lack of empathy.

                Do you expect me to waste any further time talking to you on this?

                • @syousef: The goalposts haven't moved. Crowns and dentures are not too expensive for most people. Your argument was that there some people who simply can't afford them and it's not fair to let them suffer. I can resonate with that. That's why I previously said we could look at making extraction Medicare funded. This gets rid of the pain and prevents any serious issues, all for as little as $120 or less. It's a simple and cheap solution that solves both of our concerns.

                  Yet you seem to be against that. You're not interested in people getting treatment - you just want them to give them the premium option that allows them to keep their teeth in tact and looking great, all on the taxpayer's dime. That's no more logical than arguing that teeth whitening or fake lips should be taxpayer funded. There's a fine line between treating a serious medical issue and making people look good. One of those is the responsibility of a moral society, the other one is not.

                  • @SlavOz: A whole bunch of assumptions about what I want, based on nothing I said. Seriously, stop wasting my time.

      • Low enough so we should let the price gouging continue.

        'You have only seen $250 for a filling? Well, you be happy that its not $1000 for a filling?' - great arguments.

  • Most empathetic libertarian ozbargainer

  • "dentists will actually become more expensive as they'd no longer have any reason to keep their prices low" - Dentists actually are very expensive so not sure where you go. I don't think basics ie. filling at around $200 is a low price. Most people go to the dentist when they are in pain and then have to pay ridiculous prices for basic dental work as they don't have any other choice.

    • The other choice would be to actually care about your oral health, and do proactive checkups to make sure things are healthy. Not really ideal if you neglect a issue until it causes pain, then try and get it fixed.

  • +1

    SlavOz out here doing the Discount Scott Morrison any% speedrun.

  • This link that was posted tonight by SBS is related to the discussion…

    https://youtu.be/EByhKkymICc

    The cost of medical care in the USA causing hospitals to under staff.

  • +1

    Nah Dental should be covered under medicare

    Same with physio, occupational therapy, Speech therapy etc

    I do not see the point or benefit of private health care

    Health care is the 1 industry were the bottom line isnt the most important thing.

  • I like this one the most "dentists will actually become more expensive as they'd no longer have any reason to keep their prices low"

    Prices are low?

    There needs to be support for low income people to get dental work done. On a low salary or welfare you can't afford fillings let alone root canal or more major work.

    I hate this point the most "Who pays for all that? It comes straight out of your taxes" This is just a fallacy to hide the fact that you hate poor people.

    WE ARE ALREADY PAYING TAXES, THE TAXES ARE DISTRIBUTED TO PRIVATE COMPANIES, FOSSIL FUELS, LIBERAL PARTY DONORS, PRIVATE SCHOOLS AND HIGH INCOME EARNERS.

    The money should go to helping fellow Australians. I would rather have my tax help someone fix their teeth increase their confidence and help them find a job than a tax cut to someone earning over 300k

    • -2

      On a low salary or welfare you can't afford fillings let alone root canal or more major work.

      So what if we just make extractions Medicare funded? Would you be happy with that?

      Why should you get a brand new tooth on the taxpayer's dime? If you're that concerned, then just get it pulled out so it doesn't cause any more issues.

      • +1

        Nah. Why the hell should the yachts, luxury properties and tax havens in the Caymans be paid for on my dime? You're doing the work of people who would never give you a look-in mate, you advocate for a group who would never let you see a cent of it. They tie up your self esteem in 'protecting the money' when what you're doing is protecting their money.

        Much prefer my tax dollars to look after everyone's teeth than some a-hole aged care CEO who gets tax-payer subsidised profits in the millions.

        • Yes, we can both admit that corruption is bad and shouldn't happen. We can both admit that the Australian government is a society's cancer cell (although I would wager people on the right will admit this much more eagerly than people on the left who wrap themselves firmly around the government's finger for their care and approval).

          However, that is not an argument as to why dental care should be taxpayer funded. It's whataboutism.

  • Got it all sorted in a nice, circular thought bubble that is ring-fenced by unconscious knowledge limitations. You don't know what you don't know. Stay cool dude.

  • +1

    Yeah… because who needs good dentition anyway? :|

  • Brave to call yourself out like this.

    • Only because he's an anonymous nobody on the internet.

  • I personally wish boob implants were covered by medicare. As a man, this would be a great result for all. Thanks for listening to my opinion.

  • +2

    While I 100% agree with publicly funded healthcare including dental, I can't help but notice that the 'customer service' I receive from dentists is a lot better than any other medical profession IMO and the competitiveness, at least in my area, has kept the prices low. I'm just fortunate enough to be able afford it still.

  • +1

    I think checkups and consultations once per year should be included. I think healthy teeth and gums should be the forefront of people's mouth health.

    The amount of people that don't go to the dentist because of money is crazy, a simple checkup and consultation would, I assume, prevent alot of long term teeth/mouth health issues.

    I think teeth cleaning should be subsidized by medicare.

    • You can get a $99 checkup, clean and xrays in Sydney (ideally twice a year) so I doubt money is the concern. It is the apathy.

      Yes intervention is expensive. But people let it go that far. They would rather cure than prevent.

      • +1

        You're right. Ever since I started being more mindful of my teeth, and getting dental cleans semi annually, I've not had a single cavity for a long time.

  • +2

    I'm willing to ask Medicare to fund your lobotomy.

  • I think dentists charge uninsured ppl less than those with insurance,

    I think this results in less calls for universal dental cover.

  • Yes it should.

  • +2

    Yeah, no. Dental health has health effects on the entire body. People should be able to get free check-ups and basic care because if they don't things can get bad. Whether it be heart disease, disturbance of the gut biome, abscesses…It's the same thinking behind us getting bulk billed checkups at the GP and basic blood work.
    It's clear you don't understand the wider relevancies of dental health, the economic burden of disease, or how healthcare in general works and why it's set up this way..

Login or Join to leave a comment