I spent part of yesterday morning driving an Amish neighbor to a nearby town so she could run some errands. She had wanted to go Tuesday, but I told her I was having dental surgery, and why, and so we made the trip on Thursday instead.
When she got in the car, she asked how I was feeling and volunteered that the Amish don't think a thing about having dentures. It's pretty routine, actually.
She said, "We don't have insurance, and dental care is pretty expensive. It's just more practical to have them pulled and replaced with dentures."
She was 33 when she got hers three years ago. The woman helping out in her bakery was – get ready – 20, and had had hers for a couple of years.
I tried to hide my dismay, but I'm sure it was evident. They're fine with it, no regrets whatsoever. They have a completely different attitude about preserving natural teeth than we "English" do.
I don't have dental insurance either, but it never occurred to me to not spend thousands of dollars over the past 30 years to save my teeth, only to end up spending more to get rid of them.
Here's the sad part: Citizens in other industrialized nations can go to the doctor, dentist and optometrist when they need to, for check-ups or treatment, without thinking about what it's going to cost. Most of the rest of the world enjoys health care courtesy of their governments. Yes, they pay higher taxes than we do, but it seems to me they get something that's pretty darned valuable for their taxes.
For out tax dollars, we get Congressmen and women who vote to strike down a health reform law that keeps profit-driven insurance companies in the loop.
HR 676 is perennially introduced into each new session of Congress. It is a bill that provides for Medicare for ALL. It covers dental and optical treatment. It is NOT free. It is NOT socialized medicine. It IS the right thing for this country. The ACA is a step toward true reform, but we won't get there until no one profits from the illness of another.
Physicians for a National Health Plan has been advocating for 25 years for a single-payer healthcare policy in the United States. Visit their website to learn more. Join the group (non-physicians can join for $40/year). Urge your Congressional representative to sign on as a co-sponsor.
Getting off the soapbox now. Thanks for reading.