Greens leader Senator Richard Di Natale, speaking from Melbourne, this week announced the Greens’ dental-health policy, which is set to mirror the Australian Dental Association’s (ADA) plan.
The party will be voting not only to keep the Child Dental Benefits Schedule (CDBS) but to extend it over the next four years to cover other at-risk groups.
“The Greens have already delivered Medicare-funded dental care for 3.4 million Australian children and now we want to expand the program so millions more can benefit,” said Senator Di Natale, who is a doctor and public-health specialist.
“The Greens will protect the Medicare-funded dental care for kids [program] we established and expand [it] over four years to cover full benefit income support recipients, seniors and concession card holders.
“The Greens don’t believe your health should be determined by your bank balance. Our plan would help ensure that every Australian can get the dental care they need, when they need it.”
Both Senator Di Natale and ADA president Dr Rick Olive have voiced concern over the Turnbull government’s proposed Child and Adult Public Dental Scheme. That scheme offers even less dental funding than is currently available and decreases benefits that allow at-risk patients to attend private practices.
“Australia is at risk of an oral health crisis, with many Australians unable to afford treatment. And untreated dental disease can have serious consequences, including increased risk of heart disease and stroke. Leaving dental out of Medicare created an enormous gap in Australia’s universal healthcare system,” said Senator Di Natale, echoing the ADA’s statement’s from earlier in the year.
The ADA applauded the Greens commitment to extending dental care to all those in need across Australia.
“The ADA has long advocated for targeted dental schemes that address those most in need, children of low-income families, the aged, Australia’s Indigenous peoples and those living in rural and regional areas. The foundations of the Greens’ dental policy mirror the ADA’s own Dental Health Plan,” said the ADA in a statement.
Dr Olive, in particular, was pleased to hear of the Greens’ plans to improve Australian dental health.
“The Greens’ plan for dental care recognises that the public dental system is already under-resourced and stretched to capacity. Success in improved oral health outcomes for Australians will only be achieved if governments make good use of the existing workforce and infrastructure that exist in private practice.”