Saturday, February 17, 2007

Wake up and smell the bad breath. Something rotten in the state of Howard's Australia

As DH never tires of pointing out, see for instance Budget surplus extracted from our teeth, nothing says more about the Howard Government's true attitude to families than their...

  • immediate cancellation, in 1996, of $100, 000,000 a year for free dental care.

  • and now, $368 million a year, which pays 30 per cent of the cost of dental care for those rich enough to have private health insurance through the private health insurance tax rebate.

What a pity it took the media 10 years to wake up and smell the bad breath.
Read this FINALLY (!) from the Daily Telegraph, and weep for our nation.

We're a charity case

by Sue Dunlevy

WHEN a group of Thai Buddhist dentists feels compelled to come here to provide charity dental care for Australians, the true shame of our nation's appalling public dental program is revealed.

We live in a nation sporting a $10 billion Budget surplus but there are 650,000 Australians living in pain, many unable to get a job or eat normally because they can not afford to see a dentist.

I was embarrassed when I learned on a trip to outback Australia that the
highlight of the year in the tiny desert-bound town of Bedourie in Queensland
was a visit by five Thai dentists.

No disrespect to the burghers of Bedourie but you could see why they came when you saw the blackened, rotting and disappearing teeth of some of the people who lived in the area

In Sydney single mother Sue Gandy told The Daily Telegraph she was unable to get a job or attend her daughter's parent teacher interviews because her missing and broken teeth and rotting gums were ruining her life.

The NSW public dental service had offered to pull out all her teeth but told her she would have to wait two years before they could supply her with dentures to take their place.

The Australian Council of Social Services and the Health Services Union point out that poor public dental care has ramifications beyond the disfigurement and pain it causes the individuals who suffer from it. In the end it means many of these people are unemployable. It means they are left living off welfare and pain-killers and antibiotics paid for by the taxpayer.

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