Greens relaunch Denticare

Senator Bob Brown launched the Greens Denticare policy on Monday.

Tired of waiting for the Federal government to do something about oral health issues, earlier this week the Australian Greens launched a policy for Medicare-funded dentistry. But the Australian Dental Association has criticised the policy as an idea which will not effectively or efficiently provide for those Australians that are in genuine need of quality dental care.

In launching the policy last Monday, Australian Greens Leader, Senator Bob Brown, and Greens’ spokesperson for health, Senator Richard Di Natale, said, “The Greens’ Denticare initiative is a five year plan to bring dental care under Medicare, starting with the most needy.”

The Greens proposal—called ‘Denticare’, but different to the ‘Denticare’ proposed by the NHHRC—would begin by extending Medicare coverage to low-income earners, children, teenagers and pensioners.

“Neglecting the dental health of Australians is an economic problem, a health problem and a social justice problem. The Greens’ Denticare vision is the solution,” Senator Di Natale said.

“The Greens made dental health a priority by including it in our agreement with the Labor government, and will be campaigning for our vision all over the country.

“The next budget is an opportunity to take an important step towards a big and overdue reform.

”We will be pushing for the first stage of Medicare funded dentistry, significant investment in the public dental system and expanding the oral health workforce.”

But the ADA, while agreeing with the general principle behind the proposal, replied that a universal dental scheme is not the way to achieve these aims:

“It is universally accepted that about 30-35 per cent of the population experience difficulty accessing dental care. Instead of providing a universal dental scheme that will provide only basic short-term solutions to those that access it, what is needed is a targeted scheme that will provide an effective long-term solution to those that can’t access dental care now”; ADA President Dr Shane Fryer said.

“Currently 65 per cent of the Australian population are able to access dental care. The introduction of a universal dental scheme won’t properly look after the needy but will mean that these 65 per cent of Australians that already access basic government-funded care will be able to ‘top-up’ on dental services through their own funding. Under this proposal needy Australians will not have access to long-term effective dental health solutions that should be available to all Australians—this is not the way to deal with the real problem.”

Dr Fryer added, “Universal schemes have been tried elsewhere and have ended up providing inadequate dentistry to disadvantaged people, along with subsidised care to those that already access care.”


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  1. I wonder what the dental practice called Denticare and the payment solutions company called Denticare think about the hijacking of their company names/brands, and turning them into a Medicare brand? Could either be good or bad for their business….

  2. “An effective long-term solution” is absolutely impossible with the current inept effort at empowering Australians to prevent oral health concerns. The sad indictment of the failure of eighty-nine percent of us to prevent periodontal disease must be seen as a call to resource our educators to let young people have the healthy future they deserve. This must be the foundation of all effectve care.


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