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Tag Archives: petition

Did You Know Medicare Doesn’t Cover Dental?

Oral & Heart Health

Be Good to Your Teeth and They’ll Never be False to You.
~ Soupy Sales

Are you aware of just how important your dental health is to your overall health? The two are far more closely related than you may realize. It’s been almost 10 years since my mother’s death, but her oral health played a major role in what brought her life to a close. She had been admitted to the hospital and was awaiting a triple bypass. Coronary bypass surgery has become pretty routine nowadays and the operation she was facing wasn’t all that dangerous, although at her age (81) recovery would have been somewhat lengthy.

However, the real problem was her teeth. The surgeons would not operate before she had eleven teeth pulled. My mother was not one who faced pain all that stoically and she had neglected her oral health. This was, of course, exacerbated by an inability to afford good, useful dental insurance. She was on Medicare, through Kaiser Permanente, and there is no dental coverage offered as part of the overall plan. The reason they wanted to pull her teeth is the very real danger of Endocarditis, an infection of the inner lining of your heart (endocardium). According to the Mayo Clinic, “Endocarditis typically occurs when bacteria or other germs from another part of your body, such as your mouth, spread through your bloodstream and attach to damaged areas in your heart.”

I will never forget the look on her face when she told me about their plans. She made an expression I had come to recognize over the years that said “I don’t like it, but I have no control so I’m giving up.” Give up is what she did. Within two days she lost consciousness and quickly died. I can still see her expression and it breaks my heart.

Yesterday, I created a petition at “We the People“, a part of Whitehouse.gov. As someone who is currently on Medicare and who has a difficult time affording a good dental plan, and as someone who recognizes the importance of good dental health to overall health (not to mention someone who does need a little work) I am appalled that Medicare doesn’t cover — at the very least — routine examinations and bi-annual cleaning. I know of no studies, but I have a feeling offering such coverage might actually bring down the overall cost of Medicare.

I know there are some issues with whether or not this kind of thing works, or if the Obama administration is either taking it seriously or paying much attention at all. However, I’m bound and determined to do what I can to bring attention to this problem. It only takes a moment of your time to sign and I think it’s worth raising awareness.

Below is the text of the petition. Please take a moment and sign it. Here’s the link. If you have a moment, you can also share through the Facebook and Twitter buttons just below it. Surely you have family who may benefit from this expansion of coverage and, whether you like it or not, you’re going to get old yourself. Will you be able to afford a dental plan? In the long run, I’m in favor of universal health care. However, in the meantime, let’s ensure our older population has the means to remain as healthy as possible. Maybe we’ll all die of less expensive diseases. 😉

“Recognizing the role oral health plays in the overall health of our citizens, as pointed out by such organizations as The Mayo Clinic, the Office of Disease Prevention and Health promotion, and the Surgeon General’s Report on Oral Health in America, we believe it is prudent and economically imperative to provide coverage for Dental Services to all recipients of Medicare. Many of those who have reached the age of eligibility are healthy and desirous of continuing to contribute to our country’s well-being. Ensuring their dental health is important to ensuring their overall health as well. Many people who have reached the age of eligibility for Medicare are unable to afford separate coverage for dental health. We ask the administration to work toward achieving this goal.”

Thanks from the bottom of my heart . . . and my mouth.

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So Sorry. No Deathstar This Year

Deathstar

Alas! A Dream Not to be.

As many of you may or may not know, the White House has a system whereby anyone can ” . . . petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” Loosely translated, as it surely is, this means you can ask for just about anything your little ol’ pea-pickin’ heart desires even if what you really mean by “grievance” is “I wanna”. However, there’s a catch or, should I say, a couple of catches.

First of all, you need to create an account at Whitehouse.gov. This is so, regardless of the aluminum foil on your windows and the tin foil hat blocking those priceless brainwaves of yours, the government will be able to track you down and whisk you away in a black helicopter to an undisclosed and unknowable location where people like you can be dealt with appropriately.

OK, so I made that up . . . though it’s true if you’re a member of the Tea Party. Maybe it’s true. More likely, petitioning the government for a redress of grievances is serious business, shouldn’t be taken lightly, and there has to be a way to keep people from signing petitions more than once. This seems eminently reasonable, don’t you think? Never mind. It’s a rhetorical question.

Also, there are two thresholds that must be reached for a petition to be taken seriously. The first is that it must get 150 signatures within 30 days for it to be searchable on WhiteHouse.gov’s site. The second is that it must  reach 25,000 signatures within the next 30 days for it to receive a response, though the administration reserves the right to answer at a lower participation if it deems it appropriate.

Why am I telling you this? Well, actually not because I’m cajoling you to participate. Don’t get me  wrong, I think participatory democracy is important, maybe even essential, but my feeling is this is even more important. No . . . this is a rather long-winded way of sharing my favorite petition with you and, more importantly, the answer it received.

The administration asks that each petition complete the following phrase, “We believe the Obama administration should . . . “. Recently a petition completed that phrase as follows – “Secure resources and funding, and begin construction of a Death Star by 2016” – and received 34,435 signature, reaching the second critical threshold and requiring an answer. The answer was entitled “This Isn’t the Petition Response You’re Looking For” and begins:

The Administration shares your desire for job creation and a strong national defense, but a Death Star isn’t on the horizon. Here are a few reasons:

  • The construction of the Death Star has been estimated to cost more than $850,000,000,000,000,000. We’re working hard to reduce the deficit, not expand it.
  • The Administration does not support blowing up planets.
  • Why would we spend countless taxpayer dollars on a Death Star with a fundamental flaw that can be exploited by a one-man starship?

. . .

You can read the rest, which is well worth your time (especially if you’re a dweebed-out space cadet like I am), at the site. I think it’s a – you’ll pardon the expression – stellar response.


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