Saturday, November 7, 2009

ZenTiger It's like pulling teeth

Catherine Delahunty is drilling into the "right" to Dental Care. Apparently, Mobile Dental Units the Ministry of Health are investing in will not cater for disabled people. If ramps were to be fitted, they would apparently cost $70,000. She thinks a ramp would be $3,000 tops.

Furthermore, because this is a breach of the United Nations Convention on Human Rights, the Greens are asking for a Disability Commission to be created. She thinks that would be $30 million tops. (Actually, I'm making that bit up. That's my guess for initiation and first year up and running.)

I was going to turn this into a post, but I'll just cut and paste the first two comments I made on Frog Blog. Read the whole thing there if you would like to simulate a toothache.

ZenTiger's Comment:
On one hand we have the statement that “access to dental health” is a right, and on the other we have Catherine arguing that that right can ONLY be provided via a government paid Mobile Clinic kitted out with mobile ramps.

To support such “rights” requires to remove rights from others. How about a right for other citizens not to have wages taken from them by force?

You are very blithe about that particular right being abused. The government is going into debt by a couple of hundred million a day. That’s not just more tax to be paid by citizens, but interest on borrowings.

So is this really the only option to guarantee the “right” to dental care?

Are there not other Dental Health Clinics, with ramps available? Are there not taxis and vehicles available to transport said people to these clinics?

This logic would say that disabled people have a right to wear clothes, so the Government needs to buy mobility enabled clothes stores. With $70,000 ramps no less.

If you want to use the excuse of compassion, or service, or moral obligation to provide help for those that need assistance, then by all means, do so.

But it isn’t a right.

That word is being abused by socialists to justify $70,000 ramps (and an endless stream of other causes, to be paid for by taking other people’s earnings without their say so. Run a community fundraiser.

As for the cost being $70,000. That’s a fair question. Sounds like a lot. Presuming it’s a fair and reasonable charge, I can think of at least two possible reasons:

1. It’s got to be hydraulically enabled to move under the vehicle when it is in motion, and to move up to the right level to meet curbs of different heights. There are probably a whole pile of laws (endorsed by the Greens) that would prevent a young dental assistant and possibly female dentist (with generally less strength than a male, no offense, just a fact) from struggling with a non-hydraulic bits of wood strapped to the roof of the van in true Kiwi style. And just think of the work safety angle! Why, some-one could break their back struggling with metal ramps!

2. The price includes having to change the interior of the vehicle to actually fit a wheel chair and then provide facilities to help move the patient into the dental chair.

And responding to a comment of Kevin Hague: I would instead like to express surprise that people are arguing that people with disabilities don’t have a right to dental care.

Not quite. Three things:

1. It’s the assumption that mobile dental clinics are the only option; or that the patient is required to mount the mobile van. Why not a mobile drill unit that can be wheeled into an old age home and round to every bed (for example)

2. It’s the use of the term “right” to justify a preferred course of action.

3. An opportunity to clarify the costs of the ramp, and theorize that it might be a combination of regulations, health and safety, and structural changes that create such a high cost of providing a decent ramp.

I also reject the idea we need a new Disabled Persons Commission to deal with such issues. You’d spend a million dollars a year to look into why a ramp costs so much, when you could just ask the people who told you the price? (And take the same approach to other issues around disability – put it back on the department in question, who are already tasked to consider these things)

The issue here is, what are the alternatives, and can they be offered in a more cost effective way.

For that matter, how many disabled people access this service, and would it still exclude bed-ridden people? Maybe my idea of taking the drill to the bed rather than the bed/chair to the van is better?

Related Link: Access to Dental Care a Human Right

1 comment(s):

Shem Banbury said...

The Greens - Have they thought about the 'carbon footprint' involved with setting up a disability commission!! I think not.

As to the dental issue - surely there are other options that could be looked into. One option could be to use the web more effectively, especially the neat webcam on most laptops. Online dentist could be set up and people could open their mouths into the webcam and a dentist on the other end could assess the patients right there and then. Any concerns and you could get an email voucher to use at your local dentist.

However, on reflection this is a bad idea. You would be violating the rights of blind people to dental care, as they would not know where their webcam is located and would be walking around their homes with their mouths open.

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