Obamacare Dental changes a toothache for my dentist

Jack E. Kemp

My liberal New York dentist who previously wanted to "discuss" (read: argue a bit and then have me totally agree with him) about the Federal Government Shutdown a few months ago has now sent me a postcard saying that he is "moving." He's more than moving: he's giving up his private 2-dentist office (he employed another man) and is moving into a large practice with roughly 8-9 dentists to save costs. I already have visited this other location in the past. 

I previously told my dentist in a one page letter handed to him one visit after he started that discussion about the Government Shutdown that I no longer wanted to discuss politics with him. The letter said that we only have time in his office to throw a few bumper sticker slogans at each other to no avail - and that when I, as the internet writer he knows, argue politics online with people who write negative comments to my articles, they cannot put cotton and a dentist's drill in my mouth to limit my response. I also told the good doctor that I didn't want to have an (ugly) fight with him because I wanted to keep him as my dentist.
Barack Obama himself - and his so-called healthcare website - have been making my argument for me as to how bad Obamacare is for the Nation's medical and dental patients. Obama didn't say, "If you like your dentist, you can keep him," but that conclusion also might be part of his plan.

I also believe, knowing my dentist many years, that any new discussion would be like the talk I had with a Canadian male nurse years ago after he moved to New York with his nurse wife. When I said the Canadian healthcare system was inferior to America's (then), he defended Canada - even as he "voted with his feet" to go to America. I saw it would be a total waste of time to argue with such people as they like to take on a level of denial not seen since the days of Baghdad Bob. So my dentist also voted with his feet to give up his private practice office - probably due in part to economic pressures exacerbated by Obamacare. I'm sure he has a different explanation for his move involving cost savings and "not needing such a big office" (it wasn't that big), etc.

To use the analogy of George Orwell's Animal Farm, apparently my dentist thought he was favored by the Pigs' Politiburo Committee standing on the stage and commanding that "some animals are more equal than others." He just found out that reading the New York Times and voting Democratic no longer makes him a "friend of the Politiburo," but rather just another victim of Obamacare's game of musical chairs. But when the music stopped on January 1st, my dentist found that not only has he lost his seat in an ordinary chair, but also lost his private office's three dental chairs - chairs that he paid good money to purchase.

This health care professional problem is, of course, truer for younger just-graduated dentists who cannot now afford to open an office. Of course, what impacts my dentist's working conditions also impacts the dental care I receive. How much time can he spend with me and other patients is something I'll learn more about in my next visit and hopefully I won't have to look for a different dentist, even though I have purposefully avoided a direct political confrontation. The political-economic confrontation has forced on both me and my dentist, so there is a de facto political debate going on that we don't want to acknowledge but can't avoid thinking about - and acting upon. 

I didn't vote for the end of my dentist's private practice or the economic conditions that possibly impacted his patients to consider seeking other cheaper dental care - or none at all. It was my dentist voted for those changes - although he may rationalize it as a mere "efficiency move" on his part - or his patients having "changing lifestyles," as many younger and retiree New Yorkers continue to flee to states with greater economic growth and no state income or inheritance tax.

Below is a link and an excerpt from an article at American Thinker about dentistry under Obamacare which I saved. It was written by a dentist.

I have not mailed it or brought it to my dentist, but the day may come when I might feel compelled to show it to him. It doesn't contain anything my dentist doesn't already know - but it shows that I and many other patients understand his Obamacare-impacted financial situation - and his loss of some social status in the eyes of the Obama Politiburo - better than he thinks.


December 31, 2013
ObamaCare and Dentistry
By Howard J. Warner

ObamaCare will change the American healthcare marketplace in unintended ways. It will have notable impact on the dental field, through mandated pedodontic coverage. Few people enjoy visiting the dentist; however, dental care may become more problematic. Within a few years, private dental care with a trusted and known practitioner may be limited.

In the practice of medicine, a notable trend has been the movement of doctors toward employee status rather than owner/partner business practices. This relationship lessens the working hours that burden younger practitioner's families and provides economic stability at a lower salary. This changes the relationship between patient and doctor while reducing marketplace competition. Established and trusted relationships provide a sense of security for those undergoing difficult treatments. Similarly, in dentistry the trend has been toward larger practices. Most recent graduates of dental schools burdened with extremely high educational debt do not have the option for individual offices.

Employee-based practice creates ethical dilemmas for younger dentists. Larger corporate practices encourage dentists to maximize dental insurance benefits, rather than treat each patient as an individual. The ACA will accelerate this disturbing trend.

The ACA requires dental-care coverage for children through age 18. This expansion appears to be a good device for improving healthcare generally. Yet, as private health plans move in this direction, the cost of dental insurance for adults will increase. Dental insurance is usually an added policy. Fewer healthy adults will opt for this coverage as they face higher premiums due to mandated ACA coverage. Therefore, as adults who require more extensive and costly treatment make up a greater fraction of the pool, dental premiums will rise. This will result in fewer people with private insurance plans with extensive dental coverage...

We may not recognize dental offices of the future. ObamaCare may accelerate the worst trends in healthcare by increasing the cost of care and limiting our choices. Our choice of dentist may be adversely impacted. This is not what we were promised.

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Comment by Gail Cohen on January 20, 2014 at 12:56am

I lost my dental care after I retired. But thank God, I do not get cavities and my gums are pretty healthy, so I pay for my cleaning and exams. Do I have to get dental insurance now?

Comment by Gail Cohen on January 20, 2014 at 12:53am

They went after dental care too????

Comment by Roy Patterson on January 19, 2014 at 8:26pm

If you want to know the future of healthcare and dental care, here in the USA, just research Healthcare and dental care in the UK. Not a good picture. Friends of mind, with relatives in the UK, tell me the care ranges from good to below third world medical and dental care. You never know what type of care you will get when you go to doctors or dentist offices. Sometimes you get no care.

Comment by Gail Cohen on January 16, 2014 at 5:08pm

I do not have to have dental insurance (not included in my retirement benefits) so am not getting any unless forced to = I pay for my own - my daughter who had to go to Medicaid because she is out of a job does get dental benefits.. Fortunately I do not get cavities (thank you Jesus) or bad gum disease - a little irritation sometimes,so I can afford a cleaning and exam.

Comment by Timothy Birdnow on January 13, 2014 at 6:57am
Your dentist will find out what it's like to be on the receiving end of the drill when Obamacare kicks in, methinks Jack!
Comment by Paul Szemanczky on January 12, 2014 at 8:20pm

Jack: I have a good dentist who can make caps and crowns right in his office and if it's a mm off he re-does the job IMMEDIATELY. Fabulous guy, and apolitical, and other +++ I can relate to you later. Even the pickiest woman I know LOVES him.

Comment by william e grant on January 12, 2014 at 6:45pm


Comment by susan elizabeth rajchel on January 12, 2014 at 12:42pm
Comment by isabel on January 12, 2014 at 12:35pm

Why are you referring to IT as the ACA?  It's far from affordable and this is now the lib's way of distancing Obummer from any responsibility for IT.  It always was and always will be Obummercare.

As far as getting him impeached, really,  think racial riot!

Comment by Jeff Dover on January 12, 2014 at 12:07pm

Election note: This morning Phoenix channel 10 aired an interview with Senator Rand Paul.  He was asked whether or not the president's statement that "you can keep your current insurance if you want" was a lie.  Paul answered that at the time, it was not.  Then he added the following, paraphrasing:

Three months following the passage of the ACA, an amendment was put to a vote in the senate.  It stated that you could keep your insurance as long as there was absolutely no change of any kind to the policy.  If there was the slightest change, the policy would then be void and the individual would be required to revert to Obamacare.

So, now, as a practical matter, because all policies change from time to time -- especially when forced by either economics or government action -- you cannot keep your current insurance.

The thing to remember is this: Every Democrat voted for this measure.  So when they try to distance themselves from the ACA and then say that in the original you could keep your insurance, they need to be reminded at every occasion, that they voted to rescind that, in effect, and make the ACA mandatory.  We can't let them off the hook for this.

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