Affordable Care Act Requires Flossing Twice a Day

Some old document.

A Harvard law student recently discovered a section of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, hitherto unknown, which requires all Americans over the age of 14 to floss twice a day.

While working on his PhD dissertation, which covers only a portion of the some four million pages of the health care law, Samuel Gunther studied the section of the law that relates to oral health. He was surprised that, rather than providing free dentures or gold tooth implants, it actually introduced stricter standards of care than previously recommended by the American Dental Association, in order to save money on dental care for the American Economy.

Mr. Gunther consulted his own dentist, Dr. Timothy Portsmouth, as well as his undergraduate economics professor Jonathan Hemlin, who both had important things to say about the matter.

“Although I hadn’t known about this,” Dr. Portsmouth said, “It’s darn time they make Americans floss. People come in for their teeth cleanings looking filthy, and my hygienists are always complaining that their work is unhygienic. One hygienist threatened to start pulling every other tooth just so she wouldn’t have to floss a certain woman’s ghastly mouth.” Under the Affordable Care Act, dental hygienists are also allowed to pull teeth themselves, since it is classified as a “routine and non-invasive surgery,” as long as a dentist is located less than three stone’s-throws away.

Professor Hemlin, the economist, explained what he thought might be the reasoning behind the law. “See, dental floss is relatively cheap, especially if you get the permanent, reusable floss. Dentists cost The Economy millions of dollars a year. And some of them aren’t even Americans. On the other hand, if we gently pressure Americans to buy floss, we are creating jobs for thousands of dental floss designers, spinners, winders, seamstresses, and other factory workers. No matter if they’re sweatshops, they’re jobs.” The American Society for Enumeration of Labor estimates that for every person who starts flossing daily, 4.3 jobs are created. Further, “since most people don’t know about this part of the law,” continued Hemlin, “the IRS is going to catch them big time when tax day comes around. A few dollars in taxes for 99% of Americans over age fourteen — that means millions of dollars for the U.S. Government.”

Economic theory also states that, since teeth are among the more valuable body parts1, The Economy will shrink by 1/100th of a percent for every eight teeth lost, and may grow exponentially as overall dental health improves.2

  1. Teeth serve multiple functions, including roles in digestion, self-defense, and, most valuable of all, advertising and marketing.
  2. See Hemlin and Portsmouth, Economics and Dental Health (Harvard University Press, 2008), especially chapters 2-67.

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