The Australian Greens will today launch their plan to get dental into Medicare, a move which would benefit more than a million South Australians.
Under the plan, Australians will be able to go to the dentist and use their Medicare card, just like at the GP. Everyone entitled to Medicare will be able to get Medicare-funded dental care and orthodontic treatment as well as oral surgeries, periodontics and prosthodontics.
The announcement should bring a smile to South Australians who are overwhelmingly in favour of expanding Medicare to include dental care, according to new polling.
The polling, commissioned by the South Australian Greens, shows 87.2% of voters across the political spectrum support free dental.
When the Greens were last in balance of power, they got dental into medicare for kids. In balance of power in the next parliament, they will finish the job so dental is free for all who need it, not just those who can afford it.
“The Greens want to help South Australians stop putting off that important visit to the dentist, simply because it’s too expensive,” Greens Senator for South Australia Sarah Hanson-Young said.
“Paying for dental with your Medicare card, like a visit to the doctor, just makes sense.
“When public dental patients in our state are waiting almost 15 months for services and spending up to $274 for a check-up, it’s clear that dental care is out of reach for too many.
“South Australians have the highest rate of preventable hospitalisations due to dental conditions. We need access to free dental care now more than ever.”
South Australian Greens Senate candidate Professor Barbara Pocock said while Medicare has long been considered the gold standard in public health support, it needs to be expanded.
“I’m standing for the Greens in this election to fight to address inequality. By including dental in Medicare, we can look after those who need it the most and lower the cost of living.
“Like a lot of health conditions, early access to professional help can make a world of difference. The Greens were instrumental in getting children’s dental into Medicare and with balance of power in the Senate, we can expand it again.”