Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Death by no Insurance

Once again we see another disturbing example of why we need some kind of universal coverage:

A twelve year old boy dies of a toothache with insurance complications.

WASHINGTON - Twelve-year-old Deamonte Driver died of a toothache Sunday.

A routine, $80 tooth extraction might have saved him.

If his mother had been insured.

If his family had not lost its Medicaid.

If Medicaid dentists weren't so hard to find.

If his mother hadn't been focused on getting a dentist for his brother, who had six rotted teeth.

By the time Deamonte's own aching tooth got any attention, the bacteria from the abscess had spread to his brain, doctors said. After two operations and more than six weeks of hospital care, the Prince George's County boy died.

Deamonte's death and the ultimate cost of his care, which could total more than $250,000, underscore an often-overlooked concern in the debate over universal health coverage: dental care.

And because we as a society were unwilling to provide him with the $80 treatment, we are in the end left with a tab for a quarter of a million.

That's 'conservative fiscal management' for you.

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