One more failure of privatized health care

Many older people in Ontario are not getting adequate oral health care according to a new study on older women's health:
"Close to half of older adults (45%) did not visit a dentist in the past 12 months. This percentage rose in the older age group to more than half (55% of women and 54% of men aged 80 and older).  This is particularly important because dental services are not funded within our health care system. Accordingly, access can be related to socioeconomic status."
The study  adds: "Good oral health is a prerequisite for good nutrition and poor oral health is associated with an increased risk of a number of chronic conditions."

It concludes: "Access to preventive dental care is important for maintaining health and nutrition. Dental care is an example of a service that is not universally accessible in our existing health care system. Those without private insurance or those with lower socioeconomic status may not be able to afford this service. Poor dentition may impact health and lead to reduced quality of life."

 Dr. Arlene Bierman, the study’s principal investigator, adds, "With dental services not covered under our universal health-insurance program and many older adults not visiting dentists regularly, the findings suggest we need to rethink the services we provide to help keep seniors healthy as they age."

Lack of adequate access is very typical problem for privatized health care, so this finding is hardly a surprise.  But it is worth bearing in mind that if the advocates of privatization get their way, other areas of health care will see the same sorry results.

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