Sunday, February 03, 2008

Americans Go to Mexico for aAffordable Dental Care

It is ironic that the GOP and those who like to trumpet the supposedly wonderful health care system in the USA and who oppose “socialized medicine” never bother to address the 45+ million of people without health care insurance. An even bigger issue for many American families is the lack of dental insurance since many employers that offer healthcare coverage do not provide any dental insurance. Now, the situation has become downright embarrassing: U.S. citizens are now going to Mexican border towns to get dental care they cannot afford in the world’s wealthiest nation. Not only do we now have a government that spies on its citizens like in some banana republic, but now people fell forced to go to a developing country for dental (and often medical care). Here are some highlights from a Yahoo News story (

Shrugging off concerns about hygiene and Mexico's brutal drug war, thousands of Americans are heading to Ciudad Juarez and other Mexican border cities for cheap dental treatment. "I had to get my teeth fixed. I need a perfect smile to make a successful career in music. Treatment in the United States is so pricey," said Clay, a Texan trying to get a record deal as a hip-hop artist. U.S. dental treatment costs up to four times as much as in Mexico, making it tough for uninsured Americans to treat common problems such as abscessed teeth or pay for dentures. A dental crown in the United States costs upward of $600 per tooth, compared to $190 or less in Mexico.

We've gone from a handful of patients when we started 2-1/2 years ago to 150 new patients a month," said Joe Andel, an American who owns the Rio Dental clinic in Ciudad Juarez with his Mexican dentist wife, Jessica. Rio Dental, which uses U.S. labs to make its crowns, picks patients up at the airport in El Paso, Texas, across the border and has treated people from as far away as Alaska and Hawaii.

Dentistry in the United States has become prohibitively expensive for some patients, with bills that can run to tens of thousands of dollars. Malpractice insurance premiums, operating costs that are much higher than in Mexico and dentists seeking to claw back the rising cost of their tuition all weigh. Even among Americans who have medical insurance, many find they are not covered for treatment other than the basics, and paying on credit means high interest payments.

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