Advocacy: Promoting Oral Health for All British Columbians
BCDA supports expanded public funding for vulnerable patient groups
Premier Horgan’s interest in funding dental services as part of health care system in BC.
Premier John Horgan announced that he is hoping to support some level of dental service care in the government’s upcoming budget. While the details are yet to be confirmed, the following excerpt from the BC Poverty Reduction Consultation Report, August 2018 outlines some of the public concerns around access to dental services for BC’s most vulnerable patients.
Ministry’s Interim Consultation Report- What We Heard-About Poverty in B.C.
Medical Expenses – a barrier to good health
“Though we have public medical services, many people are not able to get the adequate care that they need. Prescription medications are often unaffordable, especially to people with low or no income.” People experiencing poverty told us that they struggle to pay for medical services and supplies that are not covered by the Medical Services Plan or Fair PharmaCare. We heard from people who live and work with chronic tooth pain because they can’t afford to go to the dentist. Even people receiving income or disability assistance with supplemental health coverage were being forced to go without because of gaps in their coverage. They highlighted dental services, in particular, as not meeting their needs. Many people also shared their belief that our health-care system needs to be more comprehensive. They called for access to a full spectrum of health services, such as dental, optical, physiotherapy, and PharmaCare coverage.
The BCDA participated in the public consultation, with a formal submission to the Ministry of Social Development and Poverty Reduction highlighting these points:
- BCDA supports water fluoridation and the use of fluoride to protect against dental decay
- BCDA supports expanded provincial coverage for vulnerable patient groups such as low income seniors and children
- BCDA advocates that a comprehensive oral health strategy be developed in collaboration with government, to ensure that limited public funds are targeted efficiently to prevent and treat dental disease for BC's most vulnerable patients.