I was sitting at my computer watching ABC’s Good Morning America when a story about a 12 year-old who died from tooth decay came on and forced me to stop and pay attention.
Deamonte Driver, a 12-year-old boy died from tooth decay. Tooth decay.
Now stop for a moment and think about that.
12 years-old, hasn’t even begun to live life and already gone and for what.
According to the GMA story, it started with a toothache and since Deamonte had never been to a dentist it was treated too late. The bacteria in his tooth spread to his brain and after two surgeries. When doctors thought he was on the road to recovery, he died from the bacteria.
How did this happen?
Apparently, Deamonte was entitled to dental coverage under Medicaid, but his struggling mother couldn’t find a dentist to treat him even with the help of a lawyer.
The GMA story said that children on Medicaid go to the dentist half as often as privately insured kids. In Maryland, where the Drivers live, less than 20 percent of dentists will treat Medicaid patients because of low reimbursement rates.
Now see this is the kind of stuff that pisses me off.
We’re so busy worrying about what’s going on across the ocean, and not concerned enough with what’s going on right here at home.
There’s no reason that Deamonte should have died. None.
I do not buy the excuse of reimbursement issues with dentists.
At the end of the day, we all deserve a medical, vision, and dental system that works. Not just for those of us that are fortunate enough to have jobs that offer it or those of us that can afford to pay for it, but all of us.
And while the Presidential wanna-be’s are traipsing across America trying to persuade us to vote for them, we need to think about the Deamonte’s of the world. The Deamonte’s of the world aren’t being given a fighting a chance in the richest nation on the Earth.
We can spend millions, no make that billions, looking for weapons that don’t exist, but we can’t make sure that poor people have homes and health insurance.
Am I the only one that finds this to be a bit problematic?
And we can hold all the hearings in the world in Congress that isn’t going to bring Deamonte back.
I do not accept the excuse of it being a money issue. We find the money when we want to. We find the money when we care enough.
Only last week here in California did we suddenly find the money in the 11th hour to address the State prison over crowdedness, but we found it. So don’t tell me that it’s not possible.
I feel for Deamonte and his family this morning.
There was a time when I didn’t have health insurance and got very sick as well. Fortunately, I didn’t die from my illness, but it set me back financially to have to pay for my medical bills.
If human life is so sacred and valued to Americans, why do all of our policies dictate the exact opposite?
Where did we go wrong and how can we make sure that going forward this never happens again to another person?
That’s what I really care about Senator Obama, Senator Clinton, and Senator Edwards.