The Australian Dental Association has praised Labor’s recently unveiled plan to provide significant additional dental funding for pensioners and healthcare card holders over 65.
The extra funding of $1000 per person every two years, announced as one of Labor’s election platform health pillars, will go a long way to ensuring three million seniors will have greater access to a range of dental services, so necessary in a demographic where dental issues are frequently a concern.
The program amounts to an extra $2.4 billion in Labor’s healthcare budget and would come into force from 1 July 2020, if Labor wins the election.
“The ADA welcomes the announcement that a Labor government will address the long-term problem of access to dental care for older Australians,” ADA president Dr Carmelo Bonanno said.
“The additional good news is that the $1000 will be available for patients seeing either their chosen private dentist or through public dental services.”
The ADA has been raising concerns about oral and dental care for older Australians for many years through the Australian Dental Health Plan and in its budget submissions.
“While we support this funding announcement, it is critically important that a Labor Government works with the ADA in developing the finer details of the policy as there are a number of issues that need to be addressed to ensure a smooth implementation and greatest uptake of the scheme,” Dr Bonanno said.
The ADA also backs the model used for the Child Dental Benefits Schedule and have advocated for this model for older Australians, given its success.
“As we head toward the Royal Commission into Aged Care, we expect to hear a raft of horror stories about oral and dental care,” Dr Bonanno added. “The ADA’s own submission will raise serious questions about the state of oral and dental health and its impact on older Australians in aged care facilities.”