Nobody wants a root canal, but millions of Americans with mouth pain know it might be their best shot at protecting a tooth and stopping an infection from spreading—if they can afford it. Oral health affects all health and too many people in this country cannot access care. That’s why the Senate is considering the Action for Dental Health Act. But this measure should be the first appointment on our nation’s oral health checkup.
Medicare doesn’t cover one part of the body that causes many health problems—the mouth. Two-thirds of the seniors and people with disabilities on Medicare do not have any oral health coverage and their health is worse for it. Millions of people could live healthier, happier lives if oral health coverage is added to Medicare.
Nearly 60 million seniors and disabled persons rely on the Medicare program – and only about one-third of them have any coverage for oral health care. The Medicare statute currently excludes coverage for almost all oral health care. As a result, people with Medicare coverage suffer the physical and financial consequences of untreated dental problems.
Six million Californians rely on the Medicare program. Nationally, about two-thirds of Medicare beneficiaries do not have any coverage for oral health care. Medicare currently covers almost no oral health care. This fact sheet describes how seniors are affected by this lack coverage.
Millions of seniors and people with disabilities rely on Medicare for their health care, but it does not cover their oral health care. Even if someone needs dental care in order to have a medical procedure—like a kidney transplant patient who needs an oral infection treated to begin surgery -- Medicare won’t cover the oral health care.
Families USA, Community Catalyst, and over 45 national organizations representing health care stakeholders sent this letter to Congressional leadership, urging them to heed the strong message sent by the midterm elections and pursue an agenda that ensures the best health and health care are equally accessible and affordable to all. On November 6, voters from across the country and from all walks of life voted for high quality and affordable health care.
Families USA and Kentucky Voices for Health held a telebriefing for media discussing in detail the recent series of Medicaid eligibility restrictions approved by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) under executive branch waiver authority.
In July, Families USA joined the American Dental Association, Oral Health America, Center for Medicare Advocacy, Justice in Aging, DentaQuest Foundation, Santa Fe Group and other industry leaders, in releasing An Oral Health Benefit in Medicare Part B: It’s Time to Include Oral Health in Health Care, a white paper on the need for Medicare to include dental coverage.
This blog is part of an ongoing series of stories from people across the country who need comprehensive dental coverage, but do not have access to it. Families USA, in partnership with the DentaQuest Foundation, has launched an intensive, multi-faceted, long-term issue advocacy campaign, Oral Health For All, to reduce the barriers to oral health coverage that prevent more than 106 million Americans from have such coverage and getting the care they need.
While it may seem that Congress has moved on from its reckless quest to repeal the Affordable Care Act and cut Medicaid, many lawmakers are not giving up.
It’s important that we remind members of Congress that we’re watching them and will mobilize to defend health care.