A Rotten Deal

February 15, 2011

Image of Karel

Hey, Karel, I posted you a similar message a few weeks ago, about what Remote Area Medical (RAM) does and does not provide. You had mentioned them as a way for the uninsured to get free dental treatment…and said you need crown and bridge work. So I emailed you, with a link to their page that describes the services they do provide…and it only covers the basics.

The info is right there for anyone to read, at their own web site:

http://www.ramusa.org/expeditions/2011/northerncal2011.html

Scroll down to “dental”, you’ll see the services provided, which are these and only these: “Cleanings, fillings, extractions. Pediatric dentistry is available.”

No crowns, no bridges, no oral surgery…at least, not for adults. (Though they do not state any additional services for children; my guess is for the same and no more.)

Yet today, I heard you explicitly state on your radio channel, that RAM does do crowns. Which is obviously not the case.

Over half my own teeth have almost all completely fallen out (or broken down to stubs), due to Medi-Cal’s continuous cutbacks of dental services since the Prez Clinton era, until July 1, 2009 when all adult dental services have been eliminated. Though long before that, they eliminated crowns for the back teeth, then the sides, and finally the front…also bridge work and root canal, and surgery…until all you could get any more were exams, cleaning, extractions, and standard fillings.

Teeth that could be saved (but required more than just a simple filling) weren’t. Every time a dentist yanked out a perfectly good tooth, I cursed Amerika for its miserable mistreatment and neglect of all our poor and disabled. The only way for me to get dental care (and by now I need tons of work, including crowns, bridges, surgery) is if I have AIDS…which I do not. But even the local AIDS funding is drying up here in SF, and across the nation.

I also looked into the new program “Healthy San Francisco” and guess what: dental services are not part of the package. Local dental schools offer drastically reduced prices…which nonetheless are too cost prohibitive for the low income. (Example: a crown that retails for $1,200 may cost “only” $680 at a dental school. My total monthly income is $1,130…so you do the math. Plus, I need six crowns and three bridges, though at this point I’d prefer to have ‘em all yanked out and replaced with dentures.)

It is most frustrating and humiliating (and depressing) to have know-it-alls get in my face and accuse me of neglecting my teeth, because they insist that dental care is available for the poor. I’ve been on disability most of my adult life, and would never neglect my teeth if I had any way to access dental services. They are simply not there any more.

I listen to your show faithfully, every single weekday, and admire your good works via Green960. That is why I believed you would never intentionally broadcast misinformation on any issue.

Otherwise, I’m afraid you’re behaving just like the “know-it-alls” who claim that certain health services exist for the poor, when in reality they do not…and which only serves to scapegoat our burgeoning class of low-income citizens.

Amerikans are a sadistic lot.

A devoted (but disgruntled) listener:

PS: What about your other devoted listeners who take you up on your advice to seek dental care at one of RAM’s one-day events, only to be turned away? I don’t think they’ll be too happy for your having wasted their valuable time and scarce finances. You need to rectify your false advertising ASAP, if you truly value your so-far-excellent reputation as the world’s only syndicated gay talk show host.


Send your own message to Karel: click here.

Image of rotten teeth


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