Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Shortfalls of the Dental Industry, Et Al

Shortages of professionals, loss of interest in the practice of dentistry or government (state and federal) inadequacy....any way you look at it, the system is failing our most vulnerable citizens; the elderly, children and the poor. 42% (21 states) offer no assistance for dental at all or only emergency coverage. 31 states have shortages of dental professionals, and that lack seems to point to another underlying problem...a loss of interest in the profession, maybe? It seems that new dentists are gravitating toward large cities and places where there is a larger population. Lets face it, it is harder and harder nowadays to start and build a new practice, and rural areas are not always conducive building a new practice. But similarly, because there has been a 26% rise in the cost of dentistry overall since 1997, affordability has become an issue for those same groups of people, the elderly, children and the poor. It seems to be a vicious cycle. The Affordable Care Act is also seriously lacking in that it does not offer dental benefits, except in an emergency and only for children if deemed medically necessary. So what is to be done? It seems there is no magic solution. After all, how can you begin to make something affordable that has grown so out of proportion? Wouldn't regulating the cost of dental care make the shortage of professionals worse? In the meantime our vulnerable citizens are caught in the middle. Here's an interesting fact....did you know that babyboomers are entering the senior citizen catagory at 10,000 per day? Staggering if you consider that a very large percent of them have no insurance at all. What are your thoughts?

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