WASHINGTON - Twelve-year-old Deamonte Driver died of a toothache Sunday. A routine, $80 tooth extraction might have saved him. If his mother had been insured. If his family had not lost its Medicaid. If Medicaid dentists weren't so hard to find. If his mother hadn't been focused on getting a dentist for his brother, who had six rotted teeth. By the time Deamonte's own aching tooth got any attention, the bacteria from the abscess had spread to his brain, doctors said. After two operations and more than six weeks of hospital care, the Prince George's County boy died. Deamonte's death and the ultimate cost of his care, which could total more than $250,000, underscore an often-overlooked concern in the debate over universal health coverage: dental care. Some poor children have no dental coverage at all. Others travel three hours to find a dentist willing to take Medicaid patients and accept the incumbent paperwork. And some, including Deamonte's brother, get in for a tooth cleaning but have trouble securing an oral surgeon to fix deeper problems. In spite of efforts to change the system, fewer than one in three children in Maryland's Medicaid program received any dental service at all in 2005, the latest year for which figures are available from the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. ...get the rest of the story here ---> http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/17372104/ For want of a dentist By the time 12-year-old Deamonte Driver's toothache got any attention, bacteria from an abscess had spread to his brain, doctors said. After two operations and more than six weeks of hospital care, the Maryland boy died. nbcnews.com Terrible! Lack of adequate healthcare is one of the biggest problems in this country (or at least a symptom of one of the biggest problems). A lot of people who do have some little crappy healthcare plan don't have adequate dental coverage...or no dental coverage at all! This is really sad. I hope that whoever wins next year's presidential race manages to actually make universal healthcare a reality for the US.