America's Dental Care Crisis

06/26/12 Robert Lorei
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Good morning, welcome to Radioactivity. I’m Rob Lorei. Coming up today we’ll talk about the dental crisis facing the country- it’s the topic of a new documentary tonight on PBS. We’ll also discuss yesterday’s Supreme Court Decision on Arizona’s controversial immigration law……

While we await the Supreme Court decision’s on President Obama’s health care reform plan—there’s another aspect of health care that’s rarely discussed- dental care.

Dental care can be a matter of life and death. Yet millions of Americans can’t afford a visit to the dentist. An investigation by the PBS series FRONTLINE and the Center for Public Integrity reveals the consequences of a broken safety net.

Poor children, entitled by law to dental care, often cannot find a dentist willing to see them. Others kids receive excessive care billed to Medicaid, or major surgery for preventable tooth infections.

For adults with dental disease, the situation can be as dire — and bankrupting. Millions of Americans use emergency rooms for dental care, at a cost of more than half a billion dollars every year--corporate dental chains are moving in, in some cases allegedly overcharging patients or loading them with high priced credit card debt.

Here’s the trailer for tonight’s Frontline episode- which will air at 10PM on WEDU.

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Correspondent Miles O’Brien reported on the cracks in the nation’s dental care system and I spoke with him earlier about tonight’s program. Frontline link here

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