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Letters: More on ER and dental visits

October 20, 2014

I read the My View by Dr. Cecile Feldman ("Emergency Room Is No Place For a Toothache" Aug. 18 ADA News) with heightened interest. I wholeheartedly agree that hospital emergency rooms are not efficacious, nor cost-effective settings to treat dental emergencies, short of maxillofacial trauma. In fact, the same assessment applies to relatively efficient urgent care medical clinics.

Also, I was positively horrified that expansion of the entitlement state would be posited as a solution. During my time as a naval dental officer, I saw patients from around the globe, and the worst dental health I saw was generally that of citizens of countries where dentistry is provided by the government or government insurance. We are fortunate to live in a country with a proud history of opportunity, hard work and private initiative.

However, since the time of Wilson and his ill-conceived federal income tax which initially topped out at 9 percent or so, we have, as a society, countenanced the dismantling of those aspects of our limited government which made us, truly, the city on the hill. Growth of government, particularly federal regulations and taxation are suppressing the economy and contributing to the plight of the poor, long-term unemployed and underemployed. The 85 million people without dental insurance would be better served by measures which improve the business climate in this country so more of those people could afford to seek care in the private sector.

As for the truly needy, more effective partnering between dental schools, our tripartite dental organization and private dental practitioners could expand locally provided and administered pro bono care which would not expand a self-serving bureaucratic monstrosity which concomitantly deprives people of their dignity and self-esteem. We should also push for improvement of our educational systems, which have been similarly crippled by well-meaning, but harmful government interference. Calling for more government programs to solve problems, which are essentially engendered by too much of the wrong kind of government, is tragically redundant and doomed to failure as the historical record clearly shows.

Michael L. Rudolph, D. D. S.
Warsaw, Indiana