Why I was chosen for such a task? I didn’t ask for this. Okay, so maybe I did.
Years ago I swore off direct petitioning prayer; you know, the kind where you ask God directly to intervene in the course of human events. Like, please help me to lose weight (that’s just BEGGING for a tapeworm there!) or any other sort of prayer that you ask God to help you in a specific way.
Except this time I forgot to not be so direct.
A few weeks ago I must have quietly asked God if He could help me make sense of Obamacare and how the Affordable Care Act is going to end up affecting dentistry in the next few years. And I had a dream that I would find the answer, only that it was buried and that I would get a signal when it was time to dig.
Dig? As in Joseph Smith, dig? Dude, angels aren’t my thing. Not that I have anything against angels pointing their fingers to the ground and making me do all the hard work.
Fortunately no angel came to me. Instead it was a cricket, chirping in the middle of winter like no cricket should. There’s this closet in a corner of one of my operatories, it’s the hidden closet, it’s where we cram in the Christmas tree every January above the forgotten manual x-ray film developer and all the manila patient files from twenty years ago. All day I was tormented by the shrillness of that annoying survivor. Even after the last patient was gone the cricket continued its unwavering tone. Was that my sign? I began digging in the closet, searching for the little critter.
When I pulled out the second box of files, there it was, No, not the cricket, but three unassuming sheets of stationery, triple-folded and clinging to each other. The weird part, though, was that there was not actually any writing ON the pages, per se. Instead, the words were like cutout stencils, as if a brood of silverfish had only eaten away the paper where the ink had been. I shouldn’t have been surprised, really, but I figured that Someone had gone through all the trouble to stash the revelation in our dental closet; the least I could do was to transcribe the contents of the document here at DentalBuzz.
This, then, is:
The Fresh Testament for the Everlasting Dentition
1. In the beginning, there were gingiva, and they were good. 2. As suckling begat the need to chew, the eruption of the primary teeth ensured proper consistency for bodily nourishment. 3. But childish things must be put away, as youth becomes adulthood, the shedding of the smaller allows for the growth of that which is more permanent. 4. The gift of teeth is therefore given to all freely, to last until the final breath of life.
1. Know your enemies; otherwise they will be your undoing. 2. Beware of acid, and biofilm, and parafunction, for they may cause destruction. 3. Combined, they will hasten the evacuation of teeth from your mouth. 4. Seek refuge in the wisdom of those who are learned about the enemies of the dentition, for they will give you comfort and aid, and you will forever be guided towards pearly dental glory.
1. The ways of the world take the unaware down the pathways of fear, uncertainty, and doubt. 2. The earlier generations of servants saw their wages frozen so that all would not perish from the earth after the second great war. 3. Thus the idea of a dental benefit was created. 4. The dental benefit is a substitute for actual earnings. 5. The first days of the dental benefit helped many people fight the enemies of their teeth, by sending earnings directly to the physicians of the mouth. 6. The physicians saved teeth with those dental benefits that were given to them instead of directly to those who had served their masters, and all was well. 7. A vast outpouring flooded all the land with a large booming of babies, and as they ripened they began their search for work. 8. No longer were dental benefits under the rein of the masters themselves; instead, they were passed to those who promised to look after the servants’ best interest as an insurance against the loss of teeth. 9. Verily, a seed was planted in the minds of many: if a servant does not have an insurance policy, one cannot attend the services of a dental physician. 10. And God wept when He saw that His children first began to believe they could no longer care for themselves with their own earnings.
1. Those that promised to look after the servants and insure them against harm wanted to control dental physicians, and for many years the physicians resisted. 2. Three tribes arose in the struggle to attend to the care of the Children of God: the Fee For Service, the Preferred Provider, and the Single Payer. 3. While the lands where the three tribes practiced were not the same, as some were less hospitable than others, all tribes found that they could attend to those who were able to seek their services.
1. Then in all the lands a clamor of discontent from the servants and their lords created a large cloud that poured out from the District of Columbia. 2. When the dust settled from the cloud it revealed that the tribes were not disbanded, and that those they served would continue to attend to their care to perpetuate the saving of teeth. 3. But with the servants, they felt a fear growing even larger in their hearts that made them feel helpless about affording the ability of themselves and their kin to smile and chew and not feel dental pain, and the care of the dental physician seemed even more unreachable.
1. A revelation is near: know that the purpose of this Cloud of Obamacare is to assure the Everlasting Dentition for all. 2. But it will not be without struggle, because the Cloud itself is not the answer. 3. More care will be mandated, but the cost to the servants will cause a great frustration. 4. The dutiful will pay excessive amounts for their allotments yet they will not be blessed with their choice of caregivers. 5. Blessed are the children, for they will be adults some day and if every one of them for many years is required to visit a dental physician, then the proof of those efforts will be rewarded. 6. And it will be known that it is the act of visiting the dental care provider that saves teeth, not the insurance itself, and the eyes of all the people of the lands will be opened, and their hearts will be changed. 7. And the people will no longer look to their masters to care for them, for they themselves will know that they are partners in maintaining the gift of teeth that was given to all freely.
Yeah, so see? God just wants to stay out of Obamacare. He has no place in it, or in politics at all for that matter.
I probably don’t either, but from the new dental health plans that are available here in Texas I can comfortably say that the dental “insurance” you receive from any of the Obamacare coverage ends up costing more than just paying a dentist directly. It is too much of a hassle to give your money to a third party and then ask for some of it back, which is, in essence, what you are doing.
In the meantime, though, I’ll try to stay out of that closet.