APOH says numbers don’t add up

Associate Professor Zoellner says the government's Medicare Dental numbers don't add up.

While the government continues to seek closure of the Medicare dental scheme, Associate Professor Hans Zoellner, from the Association for the Promotion of Oral Health, has discovered the program is proving less expensive the longer it lasts. In an article in the Fairfax press (see the original article here), Associate Professor Zoellner said his findings deflate the government’s central argument against developing the present restricted arrangements into a full-scale Medicare-style scheme because it would cost too much.

Previous estimates of a full-scale Medicare dental scheme have exceeded $8 billion a year. But Professor Zoellner says based on unfolding experience of the limited existing Medicare dental scheme the cost of a more comprehensive system could be around $4 billion.

He says that nearly a million patients have benefited from the Medicare dental scheme since it was established in 2007. The cost per patient averaged as high as $2200 when it began but had fallen to less than $1500.


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