Greens to Plibersek: hands off CDDS

Senator Richard Di Natale

Incoming Health Minister Tanya Plibersek has vowed to make dental reform a key focus as minister. In her previous role as human services minister she has been responsible for sniffing out fraud and overservicing under the Medicare dental program. But Greens’ spokesperson for health, Senator Richard Di Natale, has said, “We agree with Minister Plibersek that the Chronic Disease Dental Scheme needs reform, but I would caution the Minister against trying to close down the scheme.”

Ms Plibersek has taken aim at the program in an article in The Australian newspaper, saying the program is unfair, as it benefits wealthy people lucky enough to have a chronic illness. “If you’re a millionaire, you can get $4250 worth of treatment, but if you’re poor and don’t have a chronic health condition you can’t get that sort of treatment,” she told the newspaper.

Greens’ spokesperson for health, Senator Richard Di Natale congratulated Tanya Plibersek on her appointment as Minister for Health. “I very much look forward to working with Minister Plibersek and I am pleased to see that she has flagged dental reform as a priority for the government,” he said.

He then added that, “The CDDS has helped thousands of Australians receive dental treatment that they otherwise would be unable to afford. We know that 80 per cent of those people who have accessed the scheme are concession card holders so it is largely reaching Australians who are most in need.

“The Chronic Disease Scheme is the platform for a universal Denticare scheme and the Greens will not support the closure of the scheme until something better is in its place.

“Medicare data does not support the new Health Minister’s comments that the scheme is being rorted. Almost all non-compliance has been due to minor administrative errors and I genuinely hope that dentists are not being unfairly targeted as a way of discrediting a worthwhile scheme.”

“Recently I attended a dental rescue day, organised by the National Dental Foundation, which brings together disadvantaged Australians who need dental treatment with a private dentist who provides their time and services for free. The extent of the demand for their service demonstrates that we have a broken dental system in this country.

“A small amount of funding for a dental coordinator in each state would provide crucial services to the most disadvantaged people in society and would be a great value investment.”


Bite Magazine and website is published by Engage Media. All material is protected by copyright and may not be reproduced in any form without prior written permission.


Previous articleTools of the trade: Satelec Suprasson P5 Booster
Next articleReporting season


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here