Reprinted From:
New York State Dental Journal
New York State Dental Journal
(Published by the New York State Dental Association)

November 2000                                                  Volume 66 Number 9

Letter about Aesthetic Realism & health care

Health Care Is a Right! 

As the daughter and granddaughter of dentists, I was very glad to learn about the successful outcome of NYSDA's lawsuit against New York State, which will raise Medicaid reimbursement fees for dental treatment. This victory should mean that dental care will be available to more people who desperately need it. 

This need is documented in the surgeon general's recent report, Oral Health in America. Millions of children, including those ages two through nine who are poor, have untreated cavities. Teenagers go to school with toothaches, which necessitates extractions at an early age. How can these children give their minds to learning when their teeth are aching? It is shocking and heartbreaking to know that while there have been advances in dentistry in the last decades, these children are suffering needlessly. 

Every child deserves to have his or her teeth taken care of throughout his or her life. The strength and well-being of millions of our citizens, young and old, have been jeopardized because our health care system has been cruel to people, putting profits ahead of all else. Many health insurance packages, including those provided by employers, do not provide for dental care. Many people can't afford it on their own; and some dentists have been refusing Medicaid patients because they feel the reimbursement scale is too low. 

It is from Aesthetic Realism, the education founded by historian Eli Siegel and taught in New York City, that I learned the answer is in the study of good will: the "desire to have something else stronger and more beautiful, for this desire makes oneself stronger and more beautiful." 

The availability of professional health and dental care is the right of every person. It shouldn't be a luxury or something you just can't get. That is why there must be a national health care plan, so that every person can be ensured of the care he or she needs and deserves. My father, Clifford J. Lustig, who practiced dentistry for 51 years and began working in a children's clinic, supports the views I have expressed in this letter. 

We will have a health care system fair to all when people across America ask--and answer honestly--the ethical question first stated by Mr. Siegel: "What does a person deserve by being a person?" 

You can learn about Aesthetic Realism from the Aesthetic Realism Foundation, 141 Greene St., New York, NY 10021; (212) 777-4490; www.AestheticRealism.org

Eve Lustig, New York 

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