Can you say “dentista?”
Increasingly expensive dental care costs are forcing seniors to bite down hard—and head to Mexico to preserve their pearly whites, the Associated Press reports.
Nearly 70 percent of seniors do not have dental insurance, according to a 2013 Harris Interactive survey commissioned by Oral Health America. Medicare does not cover dental care, and many employers do not offer post-retirement health benefits. You can get dental coverage through the Affordable Care Act, but only if you purchase general health coverage first. (Many seniors already have that coverage.)
Even with coverage, crowns, bridgework, implants and dental surgery can easily exceed the annual limit. As a result, seniors who need extensive dental work may have limited options and could face out-of-pocket costs running into the thousands or tens of thousands of dollars; 23 percent of seniors in the Oral Health America survey said they have not seen a dental provider in five years.
Just as people traveled to Canada to buy their prescription drugs at lower cost or traveling the world for other medical services and procedures, more Americans are now flocking to places like Los Algodones, Mexico for dental care. Dental care in Mexico is much cheaper, thanks to lower labor costs and fewer regulatory requirements — factors that you should keep in mind before heading south of the border. The dentists in Mexico maintain that they may not have as much education as their American counterparts, but they spend more time practicing clinical work.
It’s not just people who live in border cities like El Paso, Texas crossing the border to take care of their teeth. The Associated Press reports that shuttle services exist to take dental patients from the Phoenix area to Los Algodones, a 200-mile trip.
Before you book a trip, though, remember that should something go wrong you may not have the same legal recourse as in the U.S., and the dentists may use different types of equipment--so do your research first.
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“Tax revenue as a percentage of gross domestic product is expected to be 16.5 percent next year. The long-term average in a full-employment economy is 18.5 percent of GDP; if revenue were at that level for the coming decade, debt would be $3.2 trillion lower and the 10-year fiscal gap would be halved. Returning to past revenue levels, however, will be inadequate over time, because an aging population will increase Medicare and Social Security costs. This need not pose a problem: Revenue was roughly 19 percent of GDP in the late 1990s, and economic conditions were excellent.”
– Former U.S. Treasury Secretary Richard E. Rubin, writing in The Washington Post
“You … often hear the claim that a lot of tax cuts will ‘pay for themselves,’ that they’ll cause so much additional economic activity that the revenue feedback from that activity will fully offset the direct revenue loss caused by the tax cut so that you end up making money for the federal government, or at least not losing any money. Now, of course that is theoretically possible and it would happen at extreme rates. I mean if a country had a 99 percent flat rate income tax and lowered it to 98 percent, I believe that they almost certainly would collect more revenue at the 98 percent rate than they did at the 99 percent rate. But the idea that this type of effect would occur at today’s tax levels just requires responses that are much bigger than statistical evidence would support and I think much bigger than common sense would indicate if you just ask people how they themselves would react to the tax cut.”
It’s summertime and the driving is anything but easy if you want to get to your favorite beach or mountain cabin for a well-deserved break. As lawmakers consider a plan to raise federal fuel taxes by 15 cents a gallon, here’s a look at the current state-level taxes on gasoline, courtesy of the Tax Foundation:
The New York Times’ Jim Tankersley tweets: “In order to raise enough revenue to start paying down the debt, Trump would need tariffs to be ~4% of GDP. They're currently 0.2%.”
Read Tankersley’s full breakdown of why tariffs won’t come close to eliminating the deficit or paying down the national debt here.