the pew charitable trusts

washingtonpost.com
The unexpected political power of dentists
The dental lobby’s power is “right up there with the NRA.”
By https://www.facebook.com/maryjordandc

[L]awmakers from Maine to Alaska see… dentists and their lobby, the American Dental Association, [as] a political force so unified, so relentless and so thoroughly woven into American communities that its clout rivals that of the gun lobby…

As the cost of dental care rises beyond the reach of millions of Americans, the dental lobby is coming under increasing scrutiny. Critics say the ADA has worked to scuttle competition that could improve access to dental care in underserved areas and make routine checkups and fillings more affordable…

Most of the 200,000 dentists in America work solo, in offices that are essentially small businesses. They are known for projecting a remarkably unified voice on issues relating to their livelihood. The ADA says 64 percent of dentists belong to the association. By comparison, only 25 percent of physicians belong to the American Medical Association…

The ADA agrees that too many Americans are getting inadequate dental care. They argue that the answer is not the creation of “lesser trained” therapists, but more government funding and “community dental health care coordinators” to educate people and get them to a dentist…

Others argue that the American model of dentistry is badly in need of innovation and competition. The Pew Charitable Trusts and other foundations advocate [mid-level practitioners called dental therapists] as a way to improve access and affordability…

They would also treat people on Medicaid, the government health-care program for the poor. Two-thirds of licensed dentists do not accept Medicaid, and hospital emergency rooms are swamped with people with neglected teeth.

theatlantic.com
The Secret Shame of Middle-Class Americans Living Paycheck to Paycheck
Nearly half of Americans would have trouble finding $400 to pay for an emergency. I’m one of them.
By Neal Gabler

Financial impotence goes by other names: financial fragility, financial insecurity, financial distress. But whatever you call it, the evidence strongly indicates that either a sizable minority or a slim majority of Americans are on thin ice financially. How thin? A 2014 Bankrate survey, echoing the Fed’s data, found that only 38 percent of Americans would cover a $1,000 emergency-room visit or $500 car repair with money they’d saved. Two reports published last year by the Pew Charitable Trusts found, respectively, that 55 percent of households didn’t have enough liquid savings to replace a month’s worth of lost income, and that of the 56 percent of people who said they’d worried about their finances in the previous year, 71 percent were concerned about having enough money to cover everyday expenses. A similar study conducted by Annamaria Lusardi of George Washington University, Peter Tufano of Oxford, and Daniel Schneider, then of Princeton, asked individuals whether they could “come up with” $2,000 within 30 days for an unanticipated expense. They found that slightly more than one-quarter could not, and another 19 percent could do so only if they pawned possessions or took out payday loans. The conclusion: Nearly half of American adults are “financially fragile” and “living very close to the financial edge.” Yet another analysis, this one led by Jacob Hacker of Yale, measured the number of households that had lost a quarter or more of their “available income” in a given year—income minus medical expenses and interest on debt—and found that in each year from 2001 to 2012, at least one in five had suffered such a loss and couldn’t compensate by digging into savings.

A Napoleon Wrasse fish is seen in Palau, an island nation in the Pacific Ocean, in this handout photo released on October 28th 2015. Palau has created one of the world’s largest marine sanctuaries, saying it wants to restore the ocean for future generations. At 500,000 square kilometres the sanctuary is the same size as Spain, and covers an underwater wonderland containing 1,300 species of fish and 700 types of coral. Credit: AFP/The Pew Charitable Trusts/Richard Brooks