Can we get affordable dental care for older Australians?

Calls for introduction of a Medicare-style universal insurance scheme for primary dental care.

Is it time for universal dental care?

Australia should introduce a Medicare-style universal insurance scheme for primary dental care to ensure all Australians can go to the dentist when they need to, according to a new Grattan Institute report.

The Grattan Institute’s Filling the gap report calculates the scheme would cost an extra $5.6 billion a year and suggests it could be paid for in part by a rise in the Medicare levy, and recommends it be phased in over 10 years.

The report follows a $5.8 billion election policy announcement by Greens leader Richard Di Natale, who promised to provide Medicare-funded dental care for every child, aged pensioner, full-benefit recipient and concession card holder.

“Your health shouldn’t be determined by your postcode or bank balance,” said Dr Di Natale, a former GP and public health specialist. 

“Untreated dental disease can dramatically impact on a person’s health and quality of life, and it is the most vulnerable people in our community who are impacted the most.”

According to the Grattan Institute, about two million Australians who required dental care in the past year either didn’t get it or delayed getting it because of the cost. And it is the poor and disadvantaged who are most likely to miss out on care, because most spending on dental care comes straight out of the pockets of patients.

“Millions of Australians have delayed visiting the dentist because of high out-of-pocket costs, which is why the Greens have long been champions of Medicare-funded dental care,” Dr Di Natale explained.

“In 2012, the Greens secured Medicare-funded dental care for 3.4 million children and now we commit to build on that foundation.

“The Coalition has never supported Medicare, but if the Labor party really support affordable universal healthcare, Bill Shorten should commit to working with the Greens to bring dental into Medicare,” Dr Di Natale said.

About a quarter of Australian adults say they avoid some foods because of the condition of their teeth; for low-income people, it’s about a third. Low-income people are more likely to have periodontal disease, untreated tooth decay, or missing teeth.

The Grattan Institute’s health program director Stephen Duckett says that it is a problem that needs addressing.

“When Australians need to see a GP, Medicare picks up all or most of the bill. But when they need to see a dentist, Australians are on their own,” Dr Duckett said.

Bad oral health has painful and costly consequences.

Oral health conditions can contribute to other health problems, including diabetes and heart disease.

Most oral health conditions are preventable, yet people often end up going to a GP or hospital emergency department to be treated for conditions that could have been arrested with earlier care.

“Existing public dental schemes are inadequate, uncoordinated and inequitable across states and territories,” Dr Duckett explained.

“Most states have waiting lists of well over a year for public dental care – and if people need to wait a year for care, their conditions are only going to get worse.

“The Commonwealth Government should announce that it will take responsibility for funding primary dental care – just as it takes responsibility for primary medical care.

“There’s no compelling medical, economic, legal or logical reason to treat the mouth so differently from the rest of the body,” Dr Duckett said.

Do you think the Australian government should fund a universal dental care scheme? What do you think of the Greens’ policy? Would this proposal encourage you to vote for the Greens at the next election?

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    COMMENTS

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    purplejan88
    20th Mar 2019
    10:26am
    should have introduced "Denticare" years ago - dentists are ridiculously expensive even with private cover - there should be a limit as to what they can charge so everyone can afford to go when needed. Public Dental services should be increased and made more available to everyone with minimal waiting times
    MICK
    20th Mar 2019
    5:52pm
    You may have heard that Morrison is giving $24 million for surveillance systems for mosques. We have 24,000 Australians sleeping rough with winter coming on and I fail to understand why (well funded) mosques cannot buy their own surveillance systems. I mean what did it cost to build these opulent places of worship?
    Money for dentistry services for retirees? Funny.
    Julian
    20th Mar 2019
    7:21pm
    There's an unspoken agenda.

    An election is looming: votes needed.
    MICK
    20th Mar 2019
    8:12pm
    Yes. And betrayal of those who need help.
    Anonymous
    21st Mar 2019
    6:58am
    What a disgrace! $24 million to protect people of a religion and culture that has never fitted well with our way of life in Australia and who have both threatened and instigated violence in many parts of the world, and created unprecedented social division. Why the religious favouritism? Why not $24 million to protect Catholic priests as well? Or Jews - who seem to have always suffered discrimination? Or Mormons or Scientologists?

    I have no issue with Muslims pursuing their religion and building their mosques, but we don't owe them special security any more than we owe it to any other religion. They are not the only people who have suffered terrorism and they are certainly not the only people at risk.

    Spend it on the homeless or providing better opportunities for children in poverty-stricken families.
    Paddington
    21st Mar 2019
    6:00pm
    Older and Wiser, remember NZ, have you forgotten already? No hate speech, no intolerances that can contribute to nutters hitting out at any group. The government responds to threats that we never hear about. We all have to start to monitor our speech and even our thoughts that lead to racist or hate speech.
    Anonymous
    21st Mar 2019
    8:23pm
    The problem, Paddington, is that all this 'no hate speech' is really 'no freedom of speech or thought'. If we don't like what's happening in our country, we are told to shove our opinions where the sun doesn't shine, because the shit-heads in power and the lame-brained sheep who follow demand that anyone who isn't happy with change be silenced. That's the real cause of the problem.

    It's not 'hate speech' to say that we want to retain our own traditions and way of life. It's not 'hate speech' to say that we should control immigration. It's not 'hate speech' to state FACTS about what has happened in nations that haven't controlled immigration.

    I haven't forgotten NZ. I haven't forgotten 9-11 either, or the World Trade Centre bombing, or the Philippines Air Flight 8969, or the Khobar Towers bombing, or the US Embassy bombings in Dar es Saalam and Nairobi, or the Bali bombings in Oct 2002, or the Madrid train bombings or the Besian school hostage crisis... I could list dozens more. Just go to https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Islamist_terrorist_attacks and browse the list there. It's a VERY long list. So who should we be protecting?

    Most terrorist attack victims are Muslim, according to reports I've read. But equally, most terrorist attacks happen in Muslim-majority countries. Did you know there were terrorist attacks in Syria the same day as Christchurch and in Somalia the day before? In Somalia, where as many as 98.9 percent of people are Muslim, terrorists carried out over 359 attacks in 2016 alone. Do we want to import this kind of disruption and terror into Australia? Really?

    The solution isn't to jam 'love and acceptance' down our throats while making us pay for exclusive protection for Muslims. The solution is to deal with FACTS objectively, and to recognize that wanting to protect our people, our culture, and our way of life does not equate to 'hating'.

    I have nothing against any other race or religion. But I do object to a mayor in central NSW banning school socials and trying to compel girls to wear face coverings, and lobbying for the introduction of Sharia law. I do object to a Muslim neighbour wearing total black body and face covering into a school and terrifying children, and claiming the right to wear the same attire into banks and government buildings. How do we know what's under that black garb? Our safety is at risk. I was required to remove my sunglasses in a bank 'for security reasons', yet this woman is allowed to enter the bank with nothing of her visible except part of her eyes - because to ban her is 'discriminatory'. I do object to an entire Muslim community in Sydney on welfare entering into elaborate child-swapping arrangements to claim childcare benefits and men permitted to have multiple wives - all on welfare at taxpayer expense. I do object to Muslims in my community saying they will blow up the neighbourhood if the council rejects their application to build a Mosque on land that has an environmental protection order over it.

    It's time for this nation to wake up. Welcome immigrants for sure. Some of my best friends are immigrant and have made a wonderful contribution to this nation. I have some beautiful Muslim friends. But control immigration to preserve our way of life, our traditions and our safety. And if that means we reject some who seek to escape terror, so bit it. Better to reject a few of them than to put our own people at risk. And don't spend our tax dollars protecting a religious sect that statistically dominates in countries where violence is most prolific.
    Anonymous
    22nd Mar 2019
    8:04am
    I should add, Paddington, that hate speech and even violence against Senator Anning is considered quite acceptable by vast numbers who scream 'no hate speech' and 'no violence'. See, they really don't want peace and love at all. They just want their own way. Just like in the same sex marriage debate, when favouring traditional marriage was 'hate speech', but calling someone a 'homophobe' or vandalising a church was perfectly acceptable.
    almost a grey hair
    20th Mar 2019
    10:32am
    would be ok for a basic check up clean and report on work to be done but any further work should have to be paid for thru normal channels. People must realise that if they are getting something for nothing then someone else must be paying for it.
    People must take the attitude that the user must pay so you need to be responsible with finance its not a bottomless pit for welfare recipients.
    Julian
    20th Mar 2019
    11:06am
    That's right but what else would you expect from a communist. This is the guy who pays his aupair an equivalent of less than $2 / hr to manage his huge property and last yr said that all Australians should receive welfare. There must be money trees growing on his property. Goose.
    MITZY
    20th Mar 2019
    11:53am
    There are many many pensioners and others who are frugal with their finances but still don't have the money for dental work. The check-up, clean and x-rays to determine what else might need to be attended to is probably all they can afford, if that. Once it comes to veneers, fillings, extractions, bridges, crowns, dentures, etc its all too hard for them. Not everyone has money to save, so many unforeseen obstacles during a life-time occur. One is more likely to try to save and the washing machine or fridge etc. and any number of things need to be prioritised so its plain to see that "teeth" comes a long way last. We all know this by the statistics. We can't put ourselves in somebody else's shoes. We don't know why some people go through life unaffected and others are afflicted with all sorts of events and dramas. What would be better would be that the dentists all charged a similar fee for their services and then a "dentalcare" similar to "medicare" would be easier to implement. There are so many charges with dentists and specialist doctors that are highly exorbitant and need some type of standardising.
    If people could get better dental services/prices the health bill would be a lot less on the doctors/specialists side. After all, your teeth are inside your mouth and part of your body so why shouldn't they be covered just the same as if you have to have treatment for your throat, tonsils, etc?
    Anonymous
    20th Mar 2019
    1:05pm
    Almost a grey hair, I absolutely agree that it's not a bottomless pit for welfare recipients, and people should learn to be responsible with finance (though BOTH political parties seem to want to punish those who are and reward those who are not!)

    BUT to be responsible with finances, you need to be healthy. And sadly some are just not blessed with good health. Others suffered neglect or abuse in childhood that left residual health problems. Some have encountered trauma or crisis that meant they simply couldn't be responsible for periods of time. Health care SHOULD be a right of every citizen, regardless of means. It is not 'welfare'. It's opportunity. It's fairness. It's compassion. It's human decency. And it's necessary.
    Greg
    20th Mar 2019
    3:41pm
    Mitzy - pensioners can use the dental service that all states provide at a nil cost or very low cost.
    MITZY
    20th Mar 2019
    8:43pm
    Greg - It's not that simple. Depends where you live and how many dental surgeries are prepared to service the scheme. In my region a friend of my cousin was waiting twelve months to get the check-up at the local hospital to refer him to a dental surgery and then its a slow process for the ongoing "vouchers" to be supplied. Then further waiting time once you indicate to the dental surgery you need an appointment and you have vouchers. Sometimes I think people get put to the back of the queue. In the end my cousin's friend pleaded with family members to assist. From what is reported there are limited amounts of dentists willing to assist vulnerable people, there may be 4 or 5 dentists in a regional/country area and only one servicing these people. Nobody should have to wait forever to get a check-up and/or some treatment we don't have to wait to see our local doctor, pathologist, have x-rays, scans, MRI's, broken bones fixed, why do they have to wait for their teeth to be fixed such long periods of time. Your teeth are part of your body. Its time for a change of thinking.
    Anonymous
    21st Mar 2019
    6:50am
    Greg, if I lived 100km further north, I could access brilliant dental services free of charge, but in my state, the waiting lists are horrendous and the service quality is very poor indeed. It's all a question of which state you live in and also how close to the state capital or largest cities.
    Anonymous
    21st Mar 2019
    6:50am
    Greg, if I lived 100km further north, I could access brilliant dental services free of charge, but in my state, the waiting lists are horrendous and the service quality is very poor indeed. It's all a question of which state you live in and also how close to the state capital or largest cities.
    Cowboy Jim
    21st Mar 2019
    8:17am
    almost a grey hair - when I went to school in the 50s in Europe a dentist visited my school and checked us out one by one. He/she compiled a report about what treatment if any was needed for the pupil and the report given to the parents by the school. They did not trust us with the report as none of us wanted to go to the dentist!
    Taxpayer paid for the initial examination, the treatment was paid for by the parents and they made us look after our teeth in a better way. Nothing wrong with that: nothing in life is always totally free. In my 70s and have still all my own teeth.
    Lookfar
    20th Mar 2019
    10:42am
    AGH, what you suggest would be almost worthless, it is fillings, dentures etc that are vital, that so many can not afford, - I find there are many foods I can not eat, because of poor teeth.
    When you recall we have all been paying since the 1940's an old age pension tax for all our working life it is foolish to talk about user pays, we have already paid, bigtime.
    almost a grey hair
    20th Mar 2019
    11:09am
    Just think of all the money you save from all those foods you can't eat, just put that money aside in a tin and use it to go to the dentists, it will save my kids from paying for everything you expect for nothing. Or use the Money they put into your bank each fortnight.
    Financial experts are telling my kids who are trying to pay off a mortgage to stop drinking coffee and save five bucks a day and pay it off their mortgage, there is a lesson to be learnt here. I have just had a partial plate made for 3 teeth $2500 My wife is having root canal treatment another $2500. Who do you think is paying for that , certainly not the tooth fairy.
    I am retired not old enough for pension , my wife works casual 2 or three days a week, no health ins, we had to budget for it and went one at a time and pay ourselves
    ozrog
    20th Mar 2019
    11:37am
    I think you need to shop around as those prices you quoted are not true. I have had the same wirk done fir a third of the cost. Also public dental waiting times are over 2yrs and a co payment is required.
    TREBOR
    20th Mar 2019
    11:41am
    Save up your pennies and take a trip to India - full mouth replacement with top class implants under $9000. Why go here when one implant can cost up to $15,000?
    Anonymous
    20th Mar 2019
    1:09pm
    And there are big risks attached to treatment abroad, Trebor. My implants are taking a year because the surgeon is emphatic that if adequate healing time isn't allowed between each stage of the procedure, there will be serious problems. That makes a lot of sense. I considered going overseas, but the evidence was strongly in favour of having the work done here where I can return for follow-up under warranty if there are problems, and I can let the gums heal properly after each visit instead of risking infection or failure by implanting into swollen and tender gums.
    Anonymous
    20th Mar 2019
    1:09pm
    And there are big risks attached to treatment abroad, Trebor. My implants are taking a year because the surgeon is emphatic that if adequate healing time isn't allowed between each stage of the procedure, there will be serious problems. That makes a lot of sense. I considered going overseas, but the evidence was strongly in favour of having the work done here where I can return for follow-up under warranty if there are problems, and I can let the gums heal properly after each visit instead of risking infection or failure by implanting into swollen and tender gums.
    Greg
    20th Mar 2019
    3:43pm
    ozrog - co-payment depends on state and service being done, there are no cost services in some states.
    Paddington
    20th Mar 2019
    11:01am
    Many poor people cannot afford to go to the dentist. The costs are exhorbitant. The public system at the moment is beyond inadequate. It is not just the elderly either. People have insufficient hours of work or unable to work or just low paid.
    If it is not sustainable then provide the basics like check and anything urgent and extras for low income people. It would give some information on how bad the problem is because it affects other health issues as well.
    almost a grey hair
    20th Mar 2019
    11:19am
    Fine so what is the answer, expecting everything for free is certainly not. Joe Hockey may have hit the nail on the head when he said "get better educated and get a better paid job" as much as I hated what he said you must think about what he said and realise we are going down the gurgler rapidly and we must fix the problems not keep putting band aids on them. At the end of the day someone has to pay for welfare and if not enough is being raised for welfare then we can't spend it on welfare, its a cruel world
    Paddington
    20th Mar 2019
    11:31am
    almost a grey hair, maybe get the top end of town to pay tax! Still so many companies and individuals are able to avoid paying any tax.
    ozrog
    20th Mar 2019
    11:40am
    Grey hair public dental is not free and helps save resources being used in public hospitals. Bad teeth can lead to many other health conditions including the heart.
    Anonymous
    20th Mar 2019
    12:58pm
    "Almost a grey hair', Hockey's advice isn't a solution either, because you get a better job and save for retirement and then it's ripped off you by a greedy government that won't pay pensions to anyone who put a little aside, and a greedy Labor Party that wants share investing restricted to the rich.

    I think free dental care would be a good investment in public health. Better way to spend money than many other hairbrained policies that cost the earth.
    Anonymous
    20th Mar 2019
    12:58pm
    "Almost a grey hair', Hockey's advice isn't a solution either, because you get a better job and save for retirement and then it's ripped off you by a greedy government that won't pay pensions to anyone who put a little aside, and a greedy Labor Party that wants share investing restricted to the rich.

    I think free dental care would be a good investment in public health. Better way to spend money than many other hairbrained policies that cost the earth.
    Greg
    20th Mar 2019
    3:46pm
    almost a grey hair - It's not possible for EVERYBODY to get a better job, where will all these better jobs be and what happens to the lower paid jobs. Joe Hockey is a moron.
    Anonymous
    22nd Mar 2019
    8:22am
    I think we should all stand for political office, Greg. The entire population should submit nominations and requests for funding for their election campaign. That would solve all the problems. We'd then all get huge salaries and fat pensions and there would be nobody screaming for aged pension increases or free dental and that houses were unaffordable. Problem solvered! Hockey is a actually a genius!
    JAID
    22nd Mar 2019
    11:19am
    Almost a Grey Hair,

    Yours is a measured reply. We want to be a caring society (and largely are) but the resources have to come from somewhere. That really boils down to all striving to do their best, then the most efficient caring use of whatever doesn't overly inhibit that striving.
    JAID
    22nd Mar 2019
    11:19am
    Almost a Grey Hair,

    Yours is a measured reply. We want to be a caring society (and largely are) but the resources have to come from somewhere. That really boils down to all striving to do their best, then the most efficient caring use of whatever doesn't overly inhibit that striving.
    older&wiser
    20th Mar 2019
    11:16am
    Forget Private Health Cover - that is a total joke! Until recently, I had top cover for hospital and extras. But the dental work I needed done - cost me $2,865. I got back $275! This was a pittance in regards to the amount I had paid for extras. I had to pay for the procedure before hand too. Yes I did find some cheaper quotes, but this was some distance away and was impractical. I'm just glad I told the dentist to do all that needed to be done. Have dropped extras and hope there will be no more dental work needed.
    Hardworker
    20th Mar 2019
    11:36am
    I worked out long ago that paying Extras with my private health cover was a waste of money. Even with the hereditary faulty enamel on my teeth requiring several expensive root canals over time it was cheaper to always have savings available and pay as I go. I too avoid certain foods to try to save my teeth and end up paying more for soft fruit like figs, berries, bananas, paw paw etc. in order to stay healthy but save my teeth. I don't know what the answer is to the dental dilemma as I do not want to pay extra Medicare levy to only cover some treatments which may not be the ones I need. That's not fair either. It is the root canals etc. that are hard to afford. Some people here talk about $2,500 for a root canal. Well let me tell you I have paid over $4,000 all up. It is important to have a root canal done by an expert because if it fails you will be up for the full amount again to fix it. By the way, Medicare is not fair for everyone anyway as not all doctors bulk-bill. It depends where you live. The whole system is not fair as their is always someone who misses out.
    Snowflake
    20th Mar 2019
    11:24am
    If government stopped wasting tax payers money it wouldn't be hard to fund health and dental cover for everyone.
    Hardworker
    20th Mar 2019
    11:39am
    Totally agree Snowflake. The health of the nation should be a priority. It would save a lot of money in the long term. Many people go on strong painkillers in order to kill dental pain because they can't afford dentistry and don't know what else to do.
    TREBOR
    20th Mar 2019
    11:42am
    Waterproof superglue works wonders for a while on a broken cap ......
    Hardworker
    20th Mar 2019
    12:52pm
    Trebor I'd be careful if I were you. I don't know that the ingredients of waterproof superglue are suitable for human consumption. You could be poisoning your whole system.
    patti
    20th Mar 2019
    11:38am
    I have extras health cover - can't run to hospital cover on Age Pension - but still have huge gap to pay. I had two teeth break a couple of weeks ago, will cost quite a bit to get them fixed. So I guess I won't be travelling interstate to meet my new grandchild in July - that would have been my air fare. Some kind of dental scheme would be very welcome. No good being on the dental care list - I'd die waiting I think!
    Arisaid
    20th Mar 2019
    11:39am
    There has always been a long wait for public dental care. This is not something new. My dentist has always charged only what my medical insurance pays. He is a Godsend. However, I recently had to have a tooth removed (long story) but I had to have it done in hospital under a general. Gap for the Anaesthetist (for a short job) was $650 - now that is extravagant. Have friends who travel overseas for dental work, have a holiday at the same time and it works out cheaper than having it done here plus they have been very happy with the treatment and results.
    TREBOR
    20th Mar 2019
    11:39am
    First bring dentist robber barons under control and cut their excessive costs.
    udo1103
    20th Mar 2019
    12:39pm
    i can't agree more...after 10 yrs of trusting a dentist, i couldn't get rid of the feeling, that i was robbed by him...and so must have been my private health fund...
    Lookfar
    20th Mar 2019
    11:44am
    AGH, can't you read? when i say that all taxpayers have been paying 7% tax on their earnings since the 1940's, that completely extinguishes your false argument that we are getting our pensions for nothing, - it is not welfare, it is repayment, and your kids are paying it also, so why should they whinge?
    I can understand that you might disagree with someone else, but just to ignore thier argument is sneaky and dishonest, you obviously have no answer and do not have the courage to admit it, - Another Neo-liberal troll, don't we have enough of them already?
    To think that because someone has insufficient chewing surface on their teeth to eat foods they like does not mean they can survive without food, - in fact many cheap foods are hard to chew so more expensive foods have to replace them.
    Looking forward to when you join the rest of us and wake up to your follies.
    almost a grey hair
    20th Mar 2019
    1:17pm
    At no stage did I say you get your pension for nothing, I said you shouldn't expect everything for nothing, free dental, free medical, free expensive operations if you have no insurance. Free or cheap travel, cheaper prescriptions where I pay $30 and you pay $5.50. free or cheap car rego reduced price car insurance simply because you are old. As for being a neo nazi I haven't and won't ever vote liberal. Keep your hair on (if you still have any, I have)
    mudGecko
    20th Mar 2019
    11:53am
    Gotta say this is the first sensible thing I've ever heard from the Greens. Ever. They may be growing mature.

    If they can influence Labor to follow them and implement it, it would be the one great thing to separate the two sides of Australian politics, and therefore give the public some real choice in their society. It might even make federal politics something more than the shameful, in-jokey spectacle it now is.

    I, for one, would publicly support this scheme, and, if it becomes a policy, ask everyone I know to vote for Labor. For the first time since the curse of Whitlam.
    Anonymous
    20th Mar 2019
    12:52pm
    Labor would have to abandon their rich man's franking credit policy for me even think of supporting them, and I will certainly NEVER support the Greens extreme left socialist agenda, but you are right that this is the first sensible thing we've heard from the Greens. Finally they have evidenced some minimal intelligence.
    Paddington
    21st Mar 2019
    6:01pm
    Btw, London is already doing it! It is a global response.

    20th Mar 2019
    12:00pm
    We are not asking for totally free handouts for dental care, just a reasonable price which most dentists don't charge, $340 for a check up and clean I consider extortionate. We do need to bring in something akin to Medicare for teeth.
    neil
    20th Mar 2019
    12:25pm
    It's not the government that funds anything, all of us do through taxation. Dental services free at the point of service for us all.

    Neil.
    neil
    20th Mar 2019
    12:25pm
    It's not the government that funds anything, all of us do through taxation. Dental services free at the point of service for us all.

    Neil.
    KSS
    20th Mar 2019
    12:44pm
    There are two things i think every citizen has a right to be able to access; education and health.

    Education should be fully funded to the end of a primary degree or diploma. After that user pays a contribution to it (i.e. higher degrees, extra diplomas, retraining etc).

    Health care should be available to those who need it and should include things that are currently elective conditions such as hip or knee replacement. But you want cosmetic surgery or procedure then you pay for i; e.g. a nose job to lose the 'beak' you pay for it, a nose job to allow or restore breathing - you get it. This of course should be extended to dental services. However, I do not think that any cosmetic health related procedure should be included. You want whiter teeth you pay for it. You need a root canal and followed by a cap or implant, you get it. You want your mercury fillings replaced you pay for it. You need a filling you get it.

    Now notice I said CITIZENS should be able to access all this. That means not permanent residents, not temporary residents, not visitors, not family members. If people are not prepared to fully commit to Australia by becoming a citizen, they should not have access to the benefits citizens have. Come here by all means but pay for your health and education needs. There should be a safety net, time limited, for people such as genuine refugees. There should also be compassionate services for people from overseas too like the co-joined twins from Bhutan, but in general non-citizens should pay for the services they access.
    Lookfar
    20th Mar 2019
    12:54pm
    Well said KSS, totally agree with you.
    Anonymous
    20th Mar 2019
    12:59pm
    Absolutely agree.
    Anonymous
    20th Mar 2019
    12:59pm
    Absolutely agree.

    20th Mar 2019
    12:48pm
    We should have had a dental care scheme years ago. It's necessary and it's introduction is way overdue, but I will NEVER vote for the ratbag Greens, no matter what. They are a danger to our society with their stupid socialist and extreme left policies.
    Lookfar
    20th Mar 2019
    1:09pm
    O &W, most thinking voters are aware of the Greens' shortcomings, but unless the Greens are looking like a major party, those do not matter.
    I think, if you look closer at the Green parties' imho inchoate mix of statements, you will realise that they are, - like most minority parties, Issue orientated, - they are not particularly socialist, - more just Oz people, but that care for the environment.
    I suspect you have been taking too large a dose of the Murdoch press, but please recall, that they (the Murdoch press) are owned and controlled by the neo-liberals, - are the Neo liberals.. who have only and always their own interests in mind.
    Anonymous
    20th Mar 2019
    1:12pm
    Lookfar, I recall that the Greens killed pensions for over 350,000 aged who are now faced with the fear of losing another massive chunk of their desperately needed income (which is in many cases LESS than an aged pension). I also know the Greens are supporting Labor's rich-man's franking credit policy. I don't need to read Murdoch's BS to form an opinion that the rat-bag Greens are dangerous socialist extremists.
    Anonymous
    20th Mar 2019
    1:14pm
    They are also massive hypocrites, Lookfar. I know some well and I've seen their hypocrisy an dishonesty first hand.
    Anonymous
    20th Mar 2019
    1:14pm
    They are also massive hypocrites, Lookfar. I know some well and I've seen their hypocrisy an dishonesty first hand.
    Lookfar
    20th Mar 2019
    1:40pm
    Unfortunately, O & G, that is what Minority parties feel forced to do, - and is what may be behind their current decline.
    Personaly i suspect that if the Greens had just totally focussed on the environment, clear and simple, they might be fine today.
    Anonymous
    21st Mar 2019
    6:41am
    They should certainly stay out of policies that destroy the financial security of aging Australians.

    I thought their universal wage idea had merit, but it was never going to be popular. I suspect it did them a lot of harm in terms of support. They didn't sell it well.
    Rae
    21st Mar 2019
    8:44am
    The Greens certainly sided with the LNP to slam the retirements of those 350 000.

    Most of those retirees could change investment mix and spend down funds to compensate.

    However the Greens lied too just like the LNP when they state they would not use legislation to disadvantage with no recourse. Those income stream purchasers were disadvantaged with no recourse so either the Greens don't know what they are doing or they are dishonest. I'm not sure but they certainly lost my vote.

    Universal wage will just encourage companies and business to pay lower wages for labour. Taxpayers should not be subsidising business labour costs in my opinion. Either business is viable or it isn't.

    The share of GDP going labour has dropped considerably. That needs to be fixed.

    Business is taking almost 10% more of the DP for themselves in high management incomes and profits now than they traditionally did. That's the problem.
    Anonymous
    23rd Mar 2019
    1:01pm
    I sympathize Rae, but I don't agree that most of the 350,000 could change their investment mix and spend down to compensate. And now those same 350,000 are threatened with another massive hit on their income if Labor succeeds with its disgusting franking credit policy. And the logic is completely wrong - particularly allowing part pensioners to retain their refund. Most part pensioners, and even many full pensioners, are way better off than those who Labor will rob. A part pensioner couple with $500,000 will be far, far better off than an SFR couple with $1 million - even if the part pensioners don't have a much more valuable home - and very often they do.

    I don't agree that the universal wage will reduce wages. We regulate wages, and we have mechanisms to fight for wage justice. I don't see any reason why that should change. What the UBI does is removes the stigma of welfare and gives people freedom to strive. I see some huge benefits.
    casey
    20th Mar 2019
    1:11pm
    Anybody know what has happened to Lothario? Has he died? Havn't heard anything from him for a while.
    Charlie
    20th Mar 2019
    1:18pm
    Greenies got him?
    Lookfar
    20th Mar 2019
    1:34pm
    Earlier posters have suggested he has morphed into OGR, but maybe he has had to get a job?
    Fine, we can't call him Slothario any more, - but he might learn something, wonders will never cease.
    Anonymous
    20th Mar 2019
    5:15pm
    Loathsome was banned.
    Arisaid
    20th Mar 2019
    5:37pm
    Hope he was banned. He was really nasty to me
    Anonymous
    21st Mar 2019
    6:44am
    Either he was playing some very unethical games, or someone was pretending to be him. Either way, either YLC intervened or, if someone else was posting under his name (which unfortunately YLC's poor technology does allow!) he got sick of defending himself.
    Anonymous
    21st Mar 2019
    6:45am
    I saw three clear instances of someone using someone else's user name to post defamatory comments. YLC should upgrade their technology to prevent this.
    Charlie
    20th Mar 2019
    1:11pm
    I would like to get back the thousands of dollars I spent in my lifetime on dentist appointments. For what its worth I only have 50% of my natural teeth in old age.

    Even the best care, did not guarantee a tooth could be saved by root canal treatment.

    Sometimes the dentist would say, infection has got into the nerve, the tooth has died, there's a sub acute infection going on, putting bad tasting seepage into your mouth and bacteria into your blood stream. There is nothing healthy and strong here to support a post and a new tooth.

    Then there was retirement and a few years on disability pension that did not offer very much dentistry for "free"
    For a long time I could only get a filling if a tooth broke, or an extraction if the tooth was infected.
    Root canal therapy was not even on the freeby list . Reaching pension age I got a couple of good reconstructions jobs but that was all.
    A person gets to a time in their life when most of their teeth need root canal and caps but its not on the list of free dental treatments

    The electric tooth brush is a good invention. I often wish I had got one sooner and brushed twice a day instead of once, but time gets out of control.

    People are coming back from India and the Philippines with a mouth full of newly capped teeth that they got done for a fraction of the price. Even new teeth set into the jawbone by surgery. All the Australian Government Dentist can offer is fillings, extraction and a plate of dentures, for where the teeth once were.
    Lookfar
    20th Mar 2019
    1:24pm
    Charlie I totally sympathise, I had for a while an orthodontist, - whatever, even more expensive, and was called the "root canal King", - all that money, and now I hear that you are lucky to get 15 years out of the bloody things, - backed by my own experience, - it is a Dentist scam, - they don't tell you it is only a short term solution, these sharks leave the "Health Net" to be picked up by the Govt, unwittingly.
    Rae
    20th Mar 2019
    2:44pm
    Yes Charlie and $26 cataract surgery while Australians go blind. Something is badly wrong here now.
    Charlie
    20th Mar 2019
    3:32pm
    I don't know how long the "implants" last, that's the new ones they put into the jawbone surgically. They seem to be the latest thing in dentistry.

    In the 1970's I got a root canal with a gold cap and it only lasted only 2 years. It started wobbling and got a big abscess on the gum. Before my teeth were so extensively filled I had some good reconstruction jobs supported by pins, some of these outlasted post and cap.

    With the post and cap job there's no nerve to go bad, but there are still things that can go wrong. The cap can wobble on top of the post. The tooth can be too weak to support the post and the whole thing can wobble. Sometimes decay can undermine the whole thing at the gum line.

    All the new reconstruction jobs they seem to use a glue and white compound that dries very quickly under a special kind of light. The finished product looks just like tooth.
    Anonymous
    22nd Mar 2019
    8:09am
    I'm having implants done now Charlie. Very expensive, and they say to expect 15 years barring any unforeseen problems and if you care for them well.

    There is new technology being tested now on animals that enables you to grow replacement natural teeth from a stem cell injection into the jaw bone. They say that will be commercialised in about 5 years. Sounds brilliant! The article I read said they won't even try to save a tooth that has decay. They will just pull it out to make room for a new one to grow.
    Mad as Hell
    20th Mar 2019
    3:50pm
    If the Greens didn’t change the Pensior Assets Test I would have been able to pay for my own dental work. Thanks for the cut to my part pension Richard de Natale.
    Rae
    21st Mar 2019
    8:50am
    They certainly didn't do anything for savers, hard working retirees or Superannuation in Australia did they?

    Just ensured you were punished if you'd done the right thing and worked hard and saved.
    Anonymous
    22nd Mar 2019
    8:12am
    This is the problem with this dumb notion of economic management by stealing from here to give to there. Every so-called saving creates another expense (or generally imposes more cost than it saves). Labor will stuff the country with its idiotic stealing from battlers who are having a go to give to the rich and bludgers.
    Anonymous
    22nd Mar 2019
    8:12am
    This is the problem with this dumb notion of economic management by stealing from here to give to there. Every so-called saving creates another expense (or generally imposes more cost than it saves). Labor will stuff the country with its idiotic stealing from battlers who are having a go to give to the rich and bludgers.

    20th Mar 2019
    5:06pm
    Of course the idiotic Liberal-Nazionals are too dumb to do this.

    It would make a lot of sense to do this: poor dental health causes a raft of other health problems. In the long term, money would be saved.
    Arisaid
    20th Mar 2019
    5:06pm
    Here's some help. Use an electric toothbrush at the very least twice a day. Floss your teeth and if you can find one at a reasonable cost (keep an eye out for specials) get an electric water flosser; they are great. Also every few days rinse your mouth out with 1/2 a teaspoon of bicarb soda in a glass of water.
    Lookfar
    20th Mar 2019
    7:40pm
    Ditto on the electric water flossers Arisaid, I didn't kow what clean teeth were till I started using one of those.
    Arisaid
    20th Mar 2019
    8:21pm
    Fantastic aren't they. Got one for our grandaughter as she is soon to get braces. Think they should be brilliant.
    Piper
    20th Mar 2019
    6:07pm
    Totally agree with Mick about the $24 million for security for mosques.. Are other religious places of worship getting similar security i.e. Christian churches - catholic, presbyterian, etc. etc...
    This $24 million could well go towards dental care for all citizens of Australia
    Rae
    21st Mar 2019
    8:54am
    Yes private churches should pay for their own security. It's not like crazed maniacs are all over the place. Besides what would security cameras have done to stop him anyway.
    It's bizarre the way the LNP waste money.
    Eddy
    21st Mar 2019
    12:17am
    I find the use of the word 'affordable' to be irritating; lazy journalist or uncaring politician talk. How does anyone else presume to know what I can afford? What is 'affordable' to James Packer, Twiggy Forrest and Gina Reinhardt is not necessarily within my financial resources. Please do not use this "buzz" word.
    Dental care should be covered by Medicare, same as for physiotherapy, eye health, podiatry etc. If this means an increase in the medicare levy then so be it, nothing comes free of cost.
    Disclaimer: I have a DVA Gold Card which covers 'necessary' dental treatment however my wife is not covered so we have to pay for her dental work.
    JAID
    22nd Mar 2019
    10:56am
    Older and wiser,

    I think that many of the elements of your condemnation cannot be refuted. The question however is does that all hang together with respect to individuals. You, yourself raise this question in noting that you have friends who are muslim who have contributed. If we take on board the attitude that liberty is best served by treating everybody individually then we need to resist the general statistics. Bringing those into play may not indicate hate and it may not always produce incorrect response but it can pre-judge and lead to a community which pre-judges.

    About a year ago I was talking on-line to a fairly long-term contact in another country. Someone who had always seemed fair and highly intelligent, a muslim brought up in a particularly formal madrassa in Pakistan. I was arguing much as I did above in response to another writer. My contact wrote personally and kindly saying that the West should be vigilant, much more than it is. The West, he suggested, is blinded by its own good will, generosity and focus to undercurrents that are stronger in Islam than anywhere else he knows. Being a speaker and insider he hears talk where host countries and their individuals are demeaned for their ignorance, generosity and beliefs. He says that there are good individuals and many but these universally appreciate the weight of responsibility to their new country. That weight is a price which every person incoming must accept.

    For myself, I also have known many Islamic people who I am certain are positive additions to this society. It may be that the vast majority can be counted in that group. My foreign contact's insights however are a reminder that the consequence of too casual review of every individual, regardless of creed can be both unpleasant and unnecessary.

    On our way of life and maintaining it. As you suggested yourself, change can be good. We should entertain and determine the value and potential of alternatives for our own and everybody's benefit. That goes both ways. If someone comes here where you have to remove your sunnies or bike helmet to enter a bank then certainly it is not unfair to expect that they remove face coverings to do the same. If they are not happy with that then there are places that don't have the same reasonable requirement. We all have to adjust according to rational general prescriptions, would we drive on the left because we do in the US?

    On spending $24 million for surveillance systems. As a general response, yes all religious institutions could be expected to cover their own security needs. Still, this particular institution has found itself subject to an extreme which in all our interests must be resisted and resisted immediately. If $24 million can do that then I am all for it.

    On dentistry. The first and best thing for oral health would be to train more dentists and dental assistants bringing down the income of dentists. Dentistry once was just about a matter of tying a string from tooth to doorknob. After the war it rose quickly in technical proficiency and as it did partly perhaps due to the numbers of ex-serviceman choosing it the linkage between the practice and the training became a closed shop. The Dental practitioners come to regulate the numbers who could train so elevating their income. Around 1970 they started calling themselves Doctors further cementing the control. This was not entirely self promotional, they do study facial matters in greater depth than medical doctors. Their incomes rose and rose so that a friend of mine could work 3 days a week, eight hours a day and make just over a half million a year in the late eighties. Just the same, their hold over the schools faded through the 70's and 80's and gradually their incomes have gone down to the point where today a number cry poor. Until a broad spectrum of dentists income reach the range $70 to $100,000 per year we should know that there are still too few dentists in the community. If, then, we wish to fund dental health then it may be something like an affordable possibility even if that does contribute to the slow cocooning, numbing socialism which we have seem to be putting our hand up for. If we do it before that then I don't think there is anyway it can be afforded. Efficiencies within the practice will decline with easy money and again overall cost to the community will be held arbitrarily high.
    Anonymous
    23rd Mar 2019
    12:33pm
    Jaid, the problem is that individual review simply isn't feasible. If we invite people in, we will have a percentage of undesirables. That's just statistical fact and it can't be avoided.
    Jannie
    22nd Mar 2019
    4:28pm
    It makes my blood boil when I see what our stupid politicians are doing. Why can't they see the big picture for Australia's future, say 20-50 years down the track.
    Anonymous
    24th Mar 2019
    8:40am
    I think they can, but self-interest rules. They are setting themselves up and nobody else matters. We are just the bunnies paying their way.
    Big Kev
    28th Mar 2019
    10:38am
    Labor proposed this policy 2 elections ago. Great to see the Greens catch up. Studies show that a large number of emergency and hospital admissions can be sourced to dental care needs. I know of a mid twenty year old who waited three years for an appointment re dentures and another year till dentures. He had to eat baby food all that time.
    Lookfar
    28th Mar 2019
    12:20pm
    Older and wiser, a percentage of our own children, (possibly a larger percentage due to our education system planning for the past) will also turn out to be undesirable, - at least the immigrants will be generally well educated and skilled.


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