Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Tooth Cleaning Prescriptions?

I never realized people needed a "prescription" from a dentist to have a dental hygenist clean their teeth. I guess they do as the Sacramento Bee notes (As usual, if login is required, username is humboldtlib, password is blogspot).

As I believe I covered here before, there's a movement afoot to end the prescription requirement. I agree with the Bee; Shame on the legislators who opposed ridding ourselves of tooth cleaning prescriptions.

I get irked over prescription drugs, as well. If I know what I need, why should I need to get permission from a doctor to buy it? I don't think many people realize how much more prescriptions increase health care costs.

First, to get the prescription, you have to go to a doctor's office. That can cost a considerable amount of money, especially for those not well off financially.

Like my high blood pressure medications: The prescriptions are only good for a year. Being new to the medication, I didn't realize I had to get the prescription renewed so let it lapse and ended up going without medication until I could set up an appointment. So, not only did I go without the medication for a few days, I had to pay for an appointment again, which is $69 for me, even with insurance.

A couple months ago I made a mistake when I faxed in my prescription to Henderson Center Pharmacy. I got the prescription filled ok, but there was a note from the doctor's office attached by the pharmacist to "come in and see me...". Right, like I have $69 to throw around and am just going to go in there on a whim to chat about medications.

Second; Drugs are cheaper as non- prescribed. Anyone remember in the news a while back where they were talking about removing some drugs from prescription to non- prescription status? One of them was Allegra, an allergy medication that works very well for me.

I was considering asking the doc for a prescription for it but, at the cost of $3 per pill, the cost was prohibitive. I read that if it was available without a prescription, it would only cost $1 a pill. Now that's affordable.

But we couldn't go there could we? Someone might misuse it. Prescriptions are still required for Allegra. They certainly know what's best for us.

I can take care of myself. I don't need the nanny staters making me go through hurdles just so they can protect certain interests.

We really need to work on ending all the restrictions on medical and dental care. Unfortunately, the narrow passage through the committee of that dental hygenist bill shows just what a tough row that will be to hoe.


At 1:30 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I feel the same way - especially about ongoing prescriptions and antibiotics. We should all be allowed to have a year's supply on hand in case of a catastrophic emergency.

I appreciate that my doctor will often call in the antibiotics without a visit, saving time and pain, doesn't really save money because you have to go in, but not making you go in FIRST is helpful.

I understand the potential for abuse, but not all of us are stupid. Many of us are conscientious and could be trusted.

At 3:03 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

We need socialized medicine!

At 5:30 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

howza gazillionaire spose to get his levitra?

At 10:49 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

our health insurance costs about $900 a month with a $5,000 deductible per person. Nothing is covered as a result, because we never get close to that deductible.

We don't need socialized medicine, but we need relief from insurance costs.

We've been both insured and uninsured - the 'advantage' to being uninsured was, we got to pay FULL RATE, as opposed to the vastly discounted rate insured's pay.

Nothing fair, insurance is highway robbery, nothing less.

If healthcare was affordable - meaning you got the damn insurance companies out of it - you wouldn't be needing to ask for the government to cover/pay for everyone.

At 12:35 AM, Blogger Eric V. Kirk said...

Fred - never thought of it before, but it sounds like a racket. Reminds me of the requirement that a license mortician dump the ashes of the dead - ashes that are far more sanitary than anything you put out in your garbage.

At 6:45 AM, Blogger Tim Hooven said...

Anon - Get an HSA

At 7:29 AM, Blogger Fred said...

10:49 wrote: "If healthcare was affordable - meaning you got the damn insurance companies out of it - you wouldn't be needing to ask for the government to cover/pay for everyone.".

I think that might be going a bit far, although I know where you're coming from.

Health care is going to be expensive, there's no way out of it and no way some people could pay for it without insurance. With all the developing health technology and highly paid health care workers (plus malpractice insurance) it's going to continue to be expensive.

But, some physicians will give you a discount if they don't have to deal with insurance companies. North Coast Family Practice, where I go, charges less if you pay cash at time of visit. In some cases that makes it cheaper for me to just pay out of pocket since if I charge it to my insurance I pay $69 per visit anyway. I've paid as low as $39 visit out of pocket.

But, some doctors do nail you if you pay cash. We got no discount at all when we had to pay cash for the wife's chemotherapy, at least when she first started it. Up to $9000 a pop. A retirement account goes pretty quickly doing that.

(As an aside, prescription drugs: Buy them in 100 count rather than a 30 day supply. It's cheaper out of pocket than having insurance pay for it, depending on your insurance co- payment.)

The problem with insurance is that there's too many things government is requiring it to do. Every time they require insurance companies to add more to their policies, the cost goes up and more people end up dropping their coverage.

State Assemblyman Ray Haynes made the point a while back that every time insurance premiums go up 1%, 40,000 people end up dropping their coverage.

In addition to that, some people go to the doctor every time they get a runny nose, costing everyone more in the end. I've known people like that and it really bugged me how much it was costing everyone overall.

Of course, I can't be pointing fingers anymore. I'm sure the wife's medical bills have gotten near half a million over the last three years. That's more than I would ever pay in premiums.

At 7:34 AM, Blogger Fred said...

Eric wrote: "Reminds me of the requirement that a license mortician dump the ashes of the dead".

Exactly. That's what most of these licenses and regulations do: Protect certain interests. That's fine if you're the special interest, but what about everyone else.

In regards to morticians, I read where Wal Mart, or some other big box was trying to get into the casket business, which would save consumers thousands in funeral costs. I forgot what state it was, but the law required that only funeral homes could sell caskets.

I see red with that one, as well. Here someone dies. It might be your darkest hour, yet you're stuck paying mega bucks buying a coffin to bury someone in because the state is protecting the funeral home industry.

At 1:24 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

so how iza gazillionaire spose to get his levitra?

At 3:25 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You need a recent prescription from a doctor before a optician can sell you eyeglasses or contact lenses.

I'd agree that prescriptions for teeth cleaning is overrestrictive. But I'd also expect a licensed standalone hygenist to refuse to work on someone's mouth if they have a medical need. The question is whether hygienists have the expertise to reliably make that call and whether they would forgo their fee when a referral is needed.

Teeth cleaning often results in bleeding that raises the high possibility of infection, especially for people with some medical conditions. Infections starting in the mouth can become very serious, very quickly. So the hygienists would need to be able to prescribe antibiotics. They would need more expertise to do that safely too.

In the end I'm not sure it would be any cheaper to get teeth cleaning from a hygienist who has the expertise, insurance, and facilities needed to do the job safely.


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