The future of dental care in Canada
Canada’s dental care system does not have common-sense priorities because the right incentives are not in place. As Brandon Doucet writes, if our current policies support the for-profit health insurance industry and dental corporations, then the system will be shaped by institutions that care about their bottom line and not public health.
Whatever happened to dental therapy in Canada?
The commodification of dental care has left many Canadians discontent with the price they pay for care, if they can afford it at all. Dental therapists are integral to providing high quality, low cost dental care and should be rapidly expanded with the goal of eventually integrating dental care into Medicare.
Canada is long overdue for universal dental care
Many Canadians view the perfect smile as a sign of status rather than an indicator of one’s health, as the provision of dental care is based on one’s ability to pay rather than their need. In fact, six million Canadians avoid the dentist each year due to financial constraints and, as a result, many live with treatable chronic pain and a lower quality of life. There is a solution to this problem: a universal dental care plan.
Universal pharmacare is a progressive litmus test
In 2015, Canadians spent $28.5 billion on prescription drugs. Of this, $24.6 billion would likely be covered under a universal pharmacare plan. The Parliamentary Budget Officer found that a universal program would cost $20.4 billion, meaning $4.2 billion in savings for Canadians. This answers the question: “How can we get more medication for less money?”