Dear Mr. President,
I doubt our paths will ever cross. See, I live in a different world than you do. I live in a world the people on top don't ever see. I live in a small town of blue-collar workers. Sure, we have some high earners in our town but the majority of us are hardworking people who dream of not having to live paycheck to paycheck. Unfortunately, for some of us, that's a dream that will not come true regardless of our clever tricks to save money.
Many people I know suffer from ongoing physical disabilities that make it hard for them to find work. The Affordable Care act has been heavily debated. I'm not here today to continue that debate. Today, I want to talk about another medical problem sweeping our nation. I want to know why dental care is not a priority for our government.
I've heard that dental care is not considered "medical care." I struggle with understanding that reasoning. Lack of dental care can lead to a myriad of problems including pain and infections. How is that not considered medical care when the lack of it can cause additional health problems? Is it not a priority because there's not a large enough market for it?
A lot of people do not require extensive dental care. But, those that do are often the elderly or disabled. And they are the ones who are likely to be on Medicare. How are these people, who are already stretched as thin as possible, supposed to pay for the dental care they need? One should not have to choose between food and dental care. Yet, that choice is being made every day by some of our nation's most needy citizens.
Physical issues are not the only problem with lack of dental care. Mental issues can also arise. How hard do you think it must be for a disabled person to go in public with decaying teeth? Imagine the looks they get from strangers and the embarrassment they must feel. Imagine the physical pain they suffer from. Would you want to go through that? I don't think so.
But, I do face these issues daily. My teeth are horrible. Not because I haven't taken care of them, I do. Rather, my issues stem from a combination of genetically weak teeth, autoimmune issues and medications. Regardless of the reasons, I've had to consider getting a full set of dentures before I turn 30. As humiliating as that is, it isn't even an option to me due to the cost. My dream of dental implants is even further out of reach. And I live in one of the most advanced countries in the world.
Our country has the ability to prevent dental problems and fix them before they get too bad. Yet, dental care is not available to all citizens due to cost. Shouldn't dental care be treated the same as any other medical care? I think it should be. I strongly feel that dental implants, fillings, dentures, and extractions should be affordable to those that need it the most.
I find it appalling that Medicare does not cover dental care. And equally appalling is the cost of private dental insurance. I want to see a reform in dental care happen. I know I'm not the only one who wants this.
I've set up a white house petition about this issue. I do hope it gets enough signatures that you will see it and understand how badly this reform needs to happen.
A Concerned Citizen with a Toothache
This post was originally posted on Adventures In Frugal Land.
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