Cuts to BC Healthy Kids Causes Backlash From Critics (and me)
I have a mouthful of teeth that I wouldn't want you to look at. Seriously, I can't smile with my lips parted because I may possibly believe in those lens-cracking myths that rolled around forever ago.
Why am I so ashamed of my dental reality? I haven't been to the dentist since I was 15 years old, the last time that I was privy to affordable and/or free dentist visits.
Just in time for our basement neighbours to be applauding (or disliking) their upcoming health care reform, B.C. is tearing down a little bit of ours by reducing funding to the Healthy Kids program, one that provides free dental services to children under the age of five from low-income families.
I've come to realize that some Americans think that Canadians have free dental. Many of the people I've come to know, via blogging and writing, have been under the assumption that all services, whether specialty, general physician, surgical or dental, were covered by a single, massive umbrella, made of the word free. Not so!
I've loudly protested and explained that dental isn't included at all, and that there is in fact no requisite structure for dental billing in BC. Dentists can charge whatever they like, and if you don't have excellent dental coverage through an employer, you can choose to pay it or not see the dentist. Period.
This has made professional dental care 100% unaffordable to me. Sure, I can (and do) have private dental insurance through Pacific Blue Cross. But it covers 60% of care for the most basic of services, to a ultra-low annual limit, and only after a ultra-high deductible. Meaning that for the first $500 of work, I'm paying out of pocket. That's two weeks of rent! Or three of groceries!
I can't swing it, so here I sit with wisdom teeth that should have come out at least five years ago, and at least four visible cavities.
And now, my daughter - privy to my dental genetics, but covered under the program for another 15 months - might be in for the same future because the program is being cut back. Now, only one visit a year will be covered, instead of the recommended semi-annual visits, regardless of the level of care needed by the individual patient. What if she needs more than $700 of treatment in a year? Too bad, because that's all that's allowed, from now on.
This comes as a result of new initiatives that will ultimately save Healthy Kids $3 million before 2013. Am I the only one who sees that this type of savings isn't ultimately worth it for the population it is intended to service?
Photo credit: makelessnoise
This is an original post to Canada Moms Blog.