Volume 90, Issue 79

Thursday, February 13, 1997



Biting back on dental plan rhetoric

Re: Brushing up on the dental plan, Feb. 12

To the editor:

I would like to take this opportunity to clarify a number of factual errors made by dentistry student John Miller in this letter of Wednesday, Feb. 12.

Mr. Miller states that the proposed dental plan "ignores the need for major services." Major work such as root canals, oral surgery and crowns are indeed covered at 10 per cent. Most students in an average year would require cleaning, scaling, some fillings and even possibly an extraction – all covered at 70-100 per cent. Major work is typically required less often and its 10 per cent coverage level helps to keep the plan affordable.

I also have some concerns with Mr. Miller's representation of the option for managed dental care. If a student decides to opt down from the standard-care program to the managed-care program, they are not being robbed of their freedom of choice. Rather, they are choosing in advance to see those dentists enrolled in the program. It is important to realize that establishing a network of dentists is vital to keeping the costs of the plan to a reasonable rate.

Mr. Miller also notes that "managed dental care violates the Ontario Dental Association's code of ethics." I think what he means is that managed dental care violates the ODA's recommended fee structure. Dentists participating in the student managed dental plan will likely do so in exchange for a reduced rate.

The managed dental care option has received a lot of attention over the course of the referendum campaign, but it is important for students to realize that it is, in fact, just an option. No one would be forced to opt down. I would urge all voters to read the information available in The Gazette and to consider the full extent of the plan and all its available options.

Please make an educated decision.

Ben Thornton
English IV

To Contact The Letters Department: gazoped@julian.uwo.ca

Copyright The Gazette 1997