The budget was released a few weeks ago and unless you have been avoiding all types of media,
you have probably also been informed of the massive backlash that is occurring with regards to the new financial arrangements. Everything from accusations of lies and deceit to “winkgate” have been thrown around in amidst all of the proverbial usual post budget mudslinging in the last few weeks. The big issues always seem to be taxation and healthcare but when I first typed “oral health” and “dental health” into Google with “federal budget” the week the budget was released, I didn’t get anything.
So I checked my spelling.
This week has been more informative and I now have something to discuss. I suppose it takes that long to wade through the pages and pages of budget publications. Both the ADA and the DHAA have raised concerns about the reduction in dental funding in this budget.1,2 In the amount of $390 million dollars.3 That’s a lot of money. So what are they going to do with it instead? It’s going to go into the “Medical Research Futures Fund.” Which sounds nice enough, but what exactly is that going to do? The budget page describing the fund talks about how it will be the largest fund of its type in the world and that by 2020, the fund will be valued at 20 billion dollars.4 It is going to put funds into new medical research and be used to attract leading medical researchers. Which sounds really nice. I hope they will actually do this and manage the money responsibly as the dental cost should be affordable for the people.
Meanwhile, with regard to dental health, the Child Dental Benefits Schedule, which was introduced in January this year, still seems to be valid.5 It allows for children aged 2-17 to receive dental services up to $1000 over a two year period.5 In order to access these services, you make an appointment for your child at either a private or public dentist and let them know that you are eligible for the CDBS.6 You can find more information at number 6, below. Despite the apparent reduction in health spending of this budget, I would encourage you to still use any resources that are available to you and your family, such as the CDBS. Meanwhile, we will all have to wait and see what, if anything, happens with this proposed $7 extra fee to see the Doctor.