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Bring dental care into Medicare

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GreensMPs 7 Feb 2012

Millions of Australians can't afford to see a dentist. This year, we're going to change that.

Before I came here to represent Victoria in Parliament, I worked as a doctor. Every day, I saw proof that Australia's oral health is in crisis.

More than 60,000 avoidable hospital visits are caused by untreated dental problems every year – along with thousands more visits to the GP. We know why: one in three people say they can't afford to go to the dentist, or delay going to the dentist because of the cost. Low income earners, Indigenous people and those who live outside major cities are by far the hardest hit.

We can change this.

The Greens have a plan to bring dental care into Medicare, starting with those who need it most. Our plan is ready to go for this year's Budget – will you join us to get it passed?

It's already picking up speed. My office has been flooded with calls backing our Denticare plan.

Thanks to our agreement with the Government, an expert committee has been appointed to advise on dental health and options for the Budget – and they're due to report back any day now.

Just last week, even Tony Abbott came on board and said that he 'aspired' to include dental care in Medicare. While his 'aspiration' won’t get us there, it’s a sign that all sides of politics now recognise the need to solve Australia’s dental crisis.

There's excitement across the board for this vital reform – but there's a difference between excitement and funding. To get it started in this year's Budget, we need to convince the Treasurer with a massive show of public support.

That's why I'm launching our nationwide campaign for Denticare today by calling on Treasurer Swan to make dental care a priority in this year's Budget.

To kick off our big push – will you join our call to the Treasurer?

Let's turn the momentum behind this idea into action. Join the call and be part of it from the start.

Yours sincerely,

Richard Di Natale

Greens Senator for Victoria & Health Spokesperson

P.S. An estimated half a million people are on waiting lists for public dental care – some of them have been waiting for more than 5 years. This year's Budget is our chance to end the wait – join our call today.

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