If you’re wondering what healthcare will look like soon, read about where the US government is taking its Medicare program for seniors. New benefits are likely to be:

  • transport to the doctor’s office
  • better groceries
  • modifications to homes (e.g grab bars in the bathroom)
  • a mobile dental clinic

The American focus is shifting to prevention of avoidable injuries and worsening of chronic disease. It is driven not by just good scientific evidence, but also by cost containment.

Recently, I  discussed with a senior policymaker the predicament of Canadian diabetics and their oral healthcare.  Canadian medicare excludes dental services even for the diabetic. Consequently, perhaps 1 in 10 diabetics get their periodontal disease under control, despite the fact that diabetes and gum disease are closely interrelated. In Ontario, diabetics are encouraged to visit the doctor frequently to have their blood sugars checked, their blood pressure monitored and their weight taken. All good stuff to managing this chronic disease, except the inflammation in the mouth is ignored.

Time to take a chapter from the Americans.


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