Australian dentists propose alternative reform

The Australian Dental Association is advancing a smaller alternative to a government plan that would provide nationalized dental insurance, according to The Australian newspaper.

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd in February proposed Denticare, a new program in which a national tax would pay the premiums for private insurance and for expansion of free dental clinics that provide prevention, restoration, and dentures.

The dental association this week proposed an alternative Dental Assistance Plan that would focus more narrowly on the poor, and said it could be funded through a new tax on sugar and sugary sweets and soft drinks, according to the report.

The Dental Assistance Plan would also pay for a complete array of dental procedures, rather than being limited to basic ones, as Denticare would, However it would impose annual limits to prevent excessive use.

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