04 May Help us try to save the child dental benefit scheme
Help us save the child dental benefit scheme.
Deficient dental funding confirmed in the Federal Budget
4 May 2016
With the formal tabling of the Federal Budget tonight, Australia has been handed a dental funding proposal wholly deficient in its ability to meet the needs of the Australian public.
While the government has made much of its $5 billion allocation to dental services, hailing its newly-announced Child and Adult Public Dental Scheme, a replacement for the Child Dental Benefits Schedule (CDBS), as a significant increase in funding, it has been confirmed in papers provided during tonight’s budget “lock-up” that dental funding has in fact decreased overall.
Not only has the amount apportioned to dental services decreased, but the number of eligible people to access these services has gone up markedly, from 3.4 million children under the CDBS to more than 10 million adults and children for its replacement. This means that eligible recipients could receive as little as $42 per head of Commonwealth funded dental treatment.
The positive aspects of the proposed scheme include surety of funding for States and Territories for the next four years. In a system that is already stretched to capacity, however, state and territory governments will need to increase, or at least maintain, their supply of publicly-provided dental services to make sure they receive a requisite share of available funding. The funding is also activity based – money is allocated based on the number and mix of patients treated – so taxpayers and governments will be able to see the kinds of services their budget allocation is delivering. Unfortunately there is no certainty these allocations will result in any outsourcing to the private sector.
When questioned about what happens if the legislation does not pass both houses, a spokesperson from Department of Health indicated that, in that event, the CDBS would continue.
What now? The ADA’s intention is to continue the fight to #savetheCDBS
In this critically-important election year, this is one issue the ADA will be working tirelessly to ensure stays at the top of the agenda.