Medicare Funding for Teen Dental Plan a Good Start12 November 2007
The Health Services Union has welcomed the recent announcement from the ALP on the use of Medicare for a Teen Dental Plan. Though the HSU has called for broader use of Medicare for dental care, the Teen Dental Plan is a good start.
The HSU welcomes the additional $510 million promised to assist many families with preventative dental care for teenagers. The cost of dental care has increased significantly over recent years and can be a difficult cost burden for many.
There are an estimated 650,000 people on public dental care waiting lists and unlike other areas of health is largely funded by individuals. Even those with private health insurance often end up significantly out of pocket when seeking dental care and many people are putting off dental treatment due to cost.
Recognising that dental health is an important part of general health, the HSU has been calling for the expansion of Medicare to dental care for those aged under 18, over 65 and those on a pension or with a health care card.
The HSU, therefore, welcomes the approach of using Medicare for dental care and is encouraged by the comments of Mr Rudd reported in the media indicating that this initiative will establish a platform for more extensive use of Medicare for dental care in the future.
The earlier ALP announcement of better targeted funding to assist those accessing the public dental health system should provide some relief for those waiting for public dental care.
The HSU will continue to seek greater Federal Government funding for dental care which has been neglected by the Howard Government for too long.
In eleven years of government the Coalition has refused to take responsibility for the access and affordability crisis in dental care, abolishing the Commonwealth Dental Health Program 10 months after it was elected and then continually blaming the State Governments for the subsequent increase in waiting times for public dental care.
Health Services Union of Australia