A Shorten Labor Government will invest $2.4 billion in a Pensioner Dental Plan – giving up to three million Australians access to free dental care and taking the next step towards Labor’s vision for universal access to dental care in Australia.
Each year, over 185,000 older Australians skip getting the dental care they need due to the cost. And yet, more than half of Australians aged 65 and over have moderate or severe gum disease1 and one in five have no natural teeth.2
Poor oral health undermines the broader physical and mental health of older Australians, as well as their social and economic participation. Poor oral health also imposes a substantial burden on Australia’s health system – in 2015-16 there were more than 67,000 potentially preventable hospitalisations for dental conditions.3
Under Labor’s Pensioner Dental Plan, age pensioners and Commonwealth Seniors Health Card holders will be able to access $1,000 worth of dental services every two years.
Within this cap, Medicare will cover a wide range of dental services such as: examinations, x-rays, cleaning, fluoride treatment, fissure sealants, fillings, root canals, extractions, periodontal treatment and dentures.
Labor will work with dentists and to roll out the scheme and work with the states and territories to enable public dentists to access the scheme, providing a substantial boost to federal funding for public dental services.
Aboriginal Medical Services, which provide vital dental care for First Nations peoples, will also be able to access the scheme.
Labor will pay for our Pensioner Dental Plan by making multinationals pay their fair share and closing tax loopholes used by the top end of town.