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Petition Launched To Make Australian Government Include Dental On Medicare

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Petition Launched To Make Australian Government Include Dental On Medicare

A petition has been launched with the Australian government to include dental care on Medicare.

Government-funded dental care is only available for people under the age of 18, under the Child Dental Benefits Schedule. But that's only available if the parent/s is on a Centrelink payment like the Family Tax Benefit A.

Adults can also get access to dental if they have a Health Care Card, a Pensioner Concession Card or a Commonwealth Seniors Health Card.

Otherwise, you have to fork out for it on your own.

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Credit: PA
Credit: PA

According to Canstar, Australians collectively spend upwards of $10 billion every year on dental services and one person is trying to change that.

A petition has now been launched to argue that 'dental care, especially primary or essential dental care, is health care'.

The petitioner wrote on the Australian government website: "The Australian public deserves a system that does not force them to choose between the ability to live without pain and complications associated with poor dental health, and paying for day-to-day living expenses.

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"An effective public system would pay dividends, allowing more people to participate in the economy and not be financially devastated by an unexpected dental bill; often in the thousands of dollars for simple-but-essential services.

"In a system where people access Mental Health care and other care such as podiatry through their General Practitioner, it is difficult to understand why Dental Care is not covered in an effective manner.

Credit: PA
Credit: PA

"It is common to hear stories of dentists discounting their prices for 'non-insured' people by hundreds of dollars, indicating that private health insurance only leads to price gouging."

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The petition also used figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics to back up its claim that people were more likely to delay seeing their dentist compared to any other health professional due to the cost of the service.

Nearly one in five people (18 percent) delayed seeing their dental healthcare professional because of the expense, compared to one in 25 (4 percent) who didn't see their GP.

The official petition request asks the House to 'pass measures for Medicare (or another public system) to cover costs of essential or primary dental care for all Australians'.

Nearly 6,000 people have signed the campaign and it will be open until 3 March this year.

Featured Image Credit: PA

Topics: Australia

Stewart Perrie
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