Joel Strom writes for the Washington Examiner about a little-known American health care challenge.

Few things are more concerning than kids without access to quality medical care. That’s especially true when the kids in question have special needs. Yet at this very moment, tens of thousands of special-needs kids struggle to find basic dental care. It’s a quiet crisis in American healthcare.

Private organizations are starting to realize this and they’re trying to fix it. Congress is just now starting to take notice, and it may soon take action as well. But the question is: Will lawmakers avoid the usual heavy-handed, one-size-fits-all policies — the “solutions” that usually make health-care problems worse?

There’s no doubt the need is real. What I’ve seen as a dentist is heartbreaking and unfortunately all too common: Many distraught, stressed, and despondent parents and kids alike finding themselves in a neverending cycle to access and afford good dental care. Special needs kids require more special attention: attention they don’t often get. Dental care for special-needs kids is simply more time-consuming (and costly) than it is for other patients.

For example: Whereas a regular dental patient can be in and out in a matter of minutes or hours, special-needs kids require significantly more time, training, and compassion.