The Washington Post had a very useful front page piece on the poor quality of dental care received by large segments of the population. It noted the high price of dental care, but never examines why it costs so much in the United States.

A big part of the story is that dentists earn on average $200,000 a year, roughly twice the average of their counterparts in Western Europe and Canada. This is in large part because our dentists benefit from protectionism. We prohibit qualified foreign dentists from practicing in the United States unless they graduate from a U.S. dental school (or in recent years, a Canadian school).

The price of dental equipment is also inflated due to the fact that it enjoys government-granted patent monopolies. In most cases, this equipment would be relatively cheap if it were sold in a free market. (Yes, we need to pay for the research that supports technological innovation, but there are alternative mechanisms. This issue and protection for dentists is discussed in Rigged: How Globalization and the Rules of the Modern Economy Were Structured to Make the Rich Richer [it's free].)

Anyhow, this is yet another example of how the religiously pro-free trade Washington Post happily turns a blind eye to protectionism when it is the wealthy who benefit.