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ADA urges dentists to ask Congress to support Medicare proposal that would better serve dentists, patients

August 24, 2021

By Jennifer Garvin

Washington — The ADA is calling on dentists nationwide to contact their legislators as Congress considers expanding Medicare to include dental, vision and hearing benefits as part of the fiscal year 2022 federal budget.

The Medicare dental benefit provision included in the U.S. Senate's approved budget resolution would likely cover all Medicare beneficiaries, be included in Medicare Part B and cost an estimated $238 billion over 10 years. The Association is advocating for a distinct program within Medicare that would provide comprehensive dental care to low-income older adults, in alignment with a policy on financing oral health care for adults aged 65 and older that was passed by the ADA House of Delegates in October 2020. ADA lobbyists have been meeting with congressional staff for the past few months to discuss the Association's policy position.

In an Aug. 12 letter to Congress, ADA President Daniel J. Klemmedson, D.D.S., M.D., said an expansion of Medicare benefits should include a comprehensive dental benefit that meets the needs of beneficiaries whose income is up to 300% of the federal poverty level. He also said a dental benefit under Medicare merits a designated program that recognizes the differences in the delivery of oral health care compared with other health care services.

“Now is the time for you to contact your members of Congress with this message of how to create a new part of Medicare that will work better for dentists and their patients than some of the alternative scenarios,” according to an Aug. 23 Grassroots Alert email from the ADA Legislative Center.

“Now is the time for Congress to hear from dentists on how to design a new dental benefit in Medicare and how it could best work for dentists and low-income seniors. Take action today.”

The ADA urged dentists to visit the ActionCenter.ADA.org/medicare-dental-benefit-works to directly contact their members of Congress about this issue.

Earlier this month, the ADA hosted a webinar discussing Congress' proposals for a Medicare dental benefit and the Association’s recent advocacy efforts. Congressional Medicare Dental Benefit Proposal: What is it and Where is it Going? featured Mike Graham, ADA senior vice president of government and public affairs, and Krishna Aravamudhan, B.D.S., senior director of the ADA Center for Dental Benefits, Coding & Quality. During the one-hour event, they discussed the legislative proposals, current dental coverage for seniors and the ADA's federal policy advocacy efforts. The webinar also included a live audience Q&A.

To watch the webinar, visit ADA.org.

For more information on the ADA’s advocacy efforts, visit ADA.org/Advocacy.