Here’s one of those issues that sit right in front of our faces without us even noticing that it’s worth questioning. So, I present to you my current conundrum because why should I be the only one stuck on this question.
Why are eyes and teeth excluded from health care? They are a tag on to what is considered important for your health. Being able to see or eat is apparently not considered in that category but gosh, doesn’t it seem as though they should?
If you are experiencing eye or teeth issues, those issues can quickly become overwhelming in your life. If you have an abscessed tooth but spent the few dollars allowed for dental care on the last cavity, you get to live in pain until the new fiscal year or pay for the entirety of the cost of getting out of pain.
Current dental and eye care coverage comes nowhere near the actual cost for those services. Never have. So, this brings us back around to the question of why eyes and teeth were removed from your health care plan and set on the side as tag alongs that seemingly don’t have an impact on your health. They are the unwanted redheaded stepchildren of the health care industry.
I spent an interesting afternoon trying to find out why this is. Who first separated them from general health care needs? That question has many answers, none of which currently make sense. They barely made sense when they first occurred but now make no sense at all.
Initially, dentists were considered some level of lesser being by medical doctors. This goes back to the days when barbers gave you a shave and a haircut and then lanced your tooth abscess or just pulled it. But eventually dentists stopped working in barber shops and became trained providers of an important service. Yet well into the 1900s. judges were ruling that dentists were not doctors providing a professional level of medical care.
Eye docs were even further behind the 8 ball on this, seen as merely the providers of glasses when needed. Not very impressive work. And yet it was an optician who first noticed the start of diabetic eye disease in my eyes and sent me off to a specialist. He initially saved my vision and then the specialist he sent me to kept me going for over 20 years. If that’s not important medical work, I don’t know what is.
Eye doctors at every level can look into your eyes and spot any number of health problems because so many of them first become evident in the eye. Dentists can prevent serious health problems by keeping your mouth healthy and infections handled before they spread to your heart. And really, when was the last time you went to your medical doctor for an exam, and they actually inspected your mouth? Dentists can find cancers when they are just starting because they actually do an inspection of your mouth.
But now we must depart the fun reason that eyes and mouth are considered lesser areas needing care and move on to that place where all problems eventually land – the board rooms of health insurance companies and Congress. Neither of these organizations are considered particularly fast moving when dealing with critical problems like the health care problems of 9/11 first responders. So, you can imagine the speed they assign to a problem that they don’t see as critical. Glaciers now officially move faster than Congress thanks to global warming.
I know this might seem like a trivial issue given that some crazy man in Russia is threatening to start a nuclear war. But on the off chance that he doesn’t, it seems as though this is something that needs to be revisited by both the health care industry and Congress. If they start now, there’s a good chance your grandchildren will enjoy the benefits of real health care coverage that includes all body parts. They may just have to wait for the year 2023 for it to kick in.