Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Death by no Insurance

Once again we see another disturbing example of why we need some kind of universal coverage:

A twelve year old boy dies of a toothache with insurance complications.

WASHINGTON - Twelve-year-old Deamonte Driver died of a toothache Sunday.

A routine, $80 tooth extraction might have saved him.

If his mother had been insured.

If his family had not lost its Medicaid.

If Medicaid dentists weren't so hard to find.

If his mother hadn't been focused on getting a dentist for his brother, who had six rotted teeth.

By the time Deamonte's own aching tooth got any attention, the bacteria from the abscess had spread to his brain, doctors said. After two operations and more than six weeks of hospital care, the Prince George's County boy died.

Deamonte's death and the ultimate cost of his care, which could total more than $250,000, underscore an often-overlooked concern in the debate over universal health coverage: dental care.

And because we as a society were unwilling to provide him with the $80 treatment, we are in the end left with a tab for a quarter of a million.

That's 'conservative fiscal management' for you.


nyscof said...

The sad thing is that most poor people in America have insurance - Medicaid. But American dentists refuse to treat people with Medicaid or other low reimbursing government subsidized insurance.

It's a mystery to me that dental schools and dental education can be government subsidized and the government doesn't require dentists to treat a certain number of low-income people a year.

Most dentists also won't work and/or live in rural or low-income inner cities and leave many people without dental care.

The problem is that organized dentistry lobbies against any dental or healthcare group that tries to fill the void lest it infringe on their lucrative monopoly.

Most dentists make more money than most physicians while working fewer days and fewer hours doing mostly cosmetic treatment and offering spa therapy.

When Dental Health Aide Therapists started drilling, filling and pulling teeth in rural Alaska which has been unable for decades to attract dentists, the American Dental Association and the Alaska Dental Society sued them

Instead of actually treating America's low-income, dentists organize to throw more fluoride chemcials into our bodies via water fluoridation because "they care so much."

However, there is no evidence that any American is or ever was fluoride deficient; but loads of data showing Americans are dentist deficient.

For more info

Fluoridation 101

Fluoridation News Releases

Tooth Decay Crises in Fluoridated Areas

Fluoride Action Network http://www.FluorideAction.Net

Fluoride Journal http://www.FluorideResearch.Org

Karen said...

Most dentists make more money than most physicians while working fewer days and fewer hours doing mostly cosmetic treatment and offering spa therapy.

Thank goodness that's not my dentist.

Things will just keep getting worse unless the American people come to their senses about who they put in office.

Eli Blake said...


You say a lot that is true. I however live in a rural area where there is no fluoride and a lot of people here lose their teeth by the time they are in their forties, so I'm not sure that fluoridation is a bad thing.

nyscof said...

People who have a lot of decay usually have very poor diets and/or are smokers.

In order to be healthy - body and teeth - we have to eat 7 - 9 servings of fruits and vegetables a day. And lay off the sugar and soda. Get enough calcium in your diet. You'll be a healthier person and better apt to keep your teeth.

Fluoride will never help anyone who doesn't have a good diet already.

Our inner cities are fluoridated and our lower incomed population are losing their teeth anyway.

king said...

As the population has gotten older, the need for health insurance has increased. Despite possible changes in the regulatory environment, healthcare is expected to continue its rapid expansion.