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BC's Medical Services Plan should cover dental costs: advocate

Last Updated May 6, 2015 at 2:40 pm PDT

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Summary

BC's Medical Services Plan doesn't cover dental care says an advocate for the poor

Advocate suggests the province could boost its dental care subsidies to those on welfare

VANCOUVER (NEWS1130) – It doesn’t make sense that the province’s Medical Services Plan doesn’t also cover dental care, says an advocate for the poor.

This after word earlier this week that a man in Surrey had been operating an illegal clinic, largely for people unwilling or unable to pay the fees charged at legal practices.

But Bruce Wallace with Victoria’s Cool Aid Society says this issue could be resolved if dental services were covered by MSP.

“I think if we could start seeing it as part of MSP and our health care, and have it in the Ministry of Health, I think that would go a long way to be able to get these policy responses that we need,” says Wallace.

Alternatively, Wallace says the province could boost its dental care subsidies to those on welfare, up from the 55 per cent it pays dentists in comparison with the Dental Association’s fee guide.

“You can’t take the jaw out of the rest of the body, and you can’t take oral care out of general health care,” Wallace says. “It’s really absurd. Again, with community dental clinics, you can’t have a healthy community without having access to dental care also.”

Wallace says there is also a need for facilities that cater specifically to those in the lower income community with other challenges like drug or mental health issues.

Due to house duties, Health Minister Terry Lake was unavailable to comment, but released a statement in which he pointed out the province has doubled its health care spending to $17.4 billion over the past 12 years, stating “my mandate as minister of health is to ensure that we live within our means, while at the same time continuing to improve patient services and keeping the system sustainable.”