Saturday, June 02, 2007

More on Rapine

You probably remember that story about the 12-year-old who died because his mother didn't have dental insurance -- his tooth abcess infected his brain and that?

(And, at the time, as I recall, the blogs over on the right were full of tender comments about how his mama should have just sold some of her bling her plasma TV maybe and got off her wide ass and taken her son to the dentist, because that's how compassionae those conservatives are, you know.)

Here's more on his story:

Deamonte had never had routine dental care.* The problem wasn't that he was among America's 47 million uninsured. He was covered by Medicaid, the federal health-insurance program for the poor, which includes dental care for kids. But Medicaid reimbursement rates for dentists in Maryland—as in many states—are set at such low rates that few dentists accept Medicaid patients.


I have students like this kid: children of the working poor, or the working poor themselves. Not all of them get Medicaid; not all qualify for it, or have applied for it. But I can't tell you the number of students I have who do without dentists -- people joke about Arkansas folk being without teeth. Ha ha fucking ha. It ain't a joke. My students are missing teeth, many of them, and it isn't funny. They don't have teeth because they couldn't afford dentists -- and, when they can afford a dentist, they can't afford fillings, or caps, or crowns. They can only afford to get the bad teeth pulled.

I can't tell you the number of students I have who, when I write something on the blackboard, get up and move to the front rows of the classroom. Why? Because they can't see the board -- and they can't afford to see a optometrist. Not even the $64 dollar one at Wal-Mart. Sell some bling? Pawn the plasma TV? That's very funny. Don't pay the water bill or the rent this month, more likely. Don't fill up the pick-up. And how would they get to my class? It's 30 miles from their door to the university, and gas ain't getting cheaper.

1 comment:

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