Affordable dental and health insurance is a major national issue. As First Lady, Hillary Clinton endeavored to devise a national program of universal and affordable health and dental insurance, some fifteen years ago. Her efforts, though diligent, failed to materialize in legislation that provided truly affordable health insurance. Today, we’re all wishing that something might have been accomplished.
The costs of medical and dental care and prescription drugs have many people choosing between medicine and food, a truly deplorable choice. We’re all too familiar with the influence of lobbyists, pharmaceutical companies, Medicare and Medicaid. We just can’t win for losing. Many states fight hard to acquire Federal funding to take care of their most vulnerable citizens. The impoverished, veteran and elderly segments of our citizenry are hit hardest. Oregon, a state without much political pull, has fought hard to provide affordable health insurance and affordable dentistry for its citizens.
In Oregon, affordable health insurance and dentist insurance has been hard fought and made a priority for the citizens of Oregon. The Oregon Health Plan (OHP) may well be a model for a nationwide, affordable health plan with dentistry riders. Federal incentives for small businesses have been generous, offering small businesses big tax breaks in exchange for providing group health plans and dentist office care to their employees. This plan has been mostly unsuccessful, due to the employer’s inability to make the necessary contributions for minimum wage workers. Here’s where the Oregon affordable health insurance plan has stepped up to the plate.
The only ‘catch’ in the Oregon affordable health insurance plan is that eligible citizens must have an income level below the Federal poverty line. Dentistry options are included. Impoverished Oregon citizens do have full access, on a sliding fee scale, to the Oregon affordable health/dental insurance program.
The poorest families are eligible for the greatest benefits, while the middle class worker does not qualify. If you’re right on the line, between poverty and a middle class income, you are indeed, stuck between the rock and a hard place.
The Oregon affordable dental/health insurance plan takes care of the poor. This plan could well serve as a national model, provided that the sliding fee premiums extended from bottom to top income levels. Today, the Oregon affordable health insurance program gives a family of two, with an income of $1200 per month or less, physician visits, dental care and hospital care for about a $22 per month premium.
Federal cutbacks in funding have been a major problem. What do you do when a war veteran needs dental care? How about vision care for the diabetic? What happens to the unfortunate victim of a heart attack? If these persons rise above the poverty level, they are medically and dentally on their own.
The state administered and Federally funded Oregon affordable health & dental insurance plan is a good start to good health care. We just need to make this a national mandate. If the historically poor state of Oregon can manage to provide minimal health and dentist clinic services to the citizenry, so can the rest of the states!