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ADA supports extending dental coverage to all adults on Medicaid

Letter to congressional leaders asks them to advance Medicaid Dental Benefit Act

August 16, 2021

By Mary Beth Versaci

The American Dental Association is supporting legislation that would make comprehensive dental care a mandatory component of Medicaid coverage for adults in every state.

In an Aug. 11 letter to congressional leaders, the ADA and nearly 130 other organizations asked them and their colleagues to co-sponsor and advance HR 4439, the Medicaid Dental Benefit Act.

"Poor oral health hurts more than our mouths," the organizations stated in the letter. "It can impede an equitable and lasting economic recovery by harming our overall health, employability and financial security. By securing Medicaid dental coverage for adults, Congress can drive health and economic gains for families, states, and our nation."

In the letter, the organizations outlined several reasons why Congress should extend guaranteed comprehensive dental coverage to all adults who rely on Medicaid for their health care. These include:

• Oral health coverage is a glaring hole in Medicaid benefits that are otherwise a lifeline to millions of adults and families.

• Adding adult dental coverage to Medicaid is key to advancing racial, economic and health justice.

• When policy and cost barriers keep dental care out of reach, it threatens national prosperity.

• Expanding oral health coverage is a cost-effective way to support better health at every age.

• A growing number of experts and community leaders support lifting barriers to dental coverage.

"By advancing the Medicaid Dental Benefit Act, lawmakers can promote a sustainable economic recovery and reduce vast health inequities by guaranteeing dental coverage to all adults who count on Medicaid, no matter where they live," the organizations stated.

Follow all of the ADA's advocacy efforts at ADA.org/Advocacy.