Orthodontists should help Iowa kids now

Iowa dentists have long complained the state does not pay them enough to cover the cost of caring for patients on Medicaid, government health insurance for the poor. So some kids go without dental care. Sometimes social workers drive foster kids across the state to the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics for help.

Sen. Jack Hatch of Des Moines acknowledged there may be a problem with the insurance contracts, but said it was "embarrassing" that orthodontists won't treat children.

It's especially embarrassing considering how much these health professionals earn. According to a survey by the American Dental Association, the average net income for dental specialists, which includes orthodontists, was $353,280 in 2007.

Engineersalary.com lists orthodontists, along with professional athletes and motivational speakers, among the "Ten Most Overpaid Jobs in the United States" and cites the Journal of Clinical Orthodontics for salary information to back it up: "For a 35-hour week, orthodontists earn a median $374,000 a year."

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