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. Luckily, coverage of “medically necessary” dental care could be added to Medicare through CMS’s administrative authority fairly easily without any need for legislation.
As the 2018 elections approach, now is the time for people to speak out to candidates about the kind of health care system they want, and to hold candidates accountable for delivering on it. Whether at a town hall, in the media, or one-on-one, voters can hold candidates for federal, state, and local offices accountable for working to protect health care, instead of tearing it down.
Health care is a top-of-mind issue for voters. In 2017, people across the country feared losing their health care due to tumultuous efforts by Republicans in Congress to repeal insurance.
Summer isn’t over, but the comment periods for three critical state Medicaid proposals will end before Labor Day. Each of the proposals will mean more red tape and frustrations for families seeking health care in Alabama, New Hampshire, and Oklahoma.
This week, as part of the Childhood Asthma Leadership Coalition (CALC), Families USA and other coalition members submitted comments to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) expressing concern with the proposed rule, “Strengthening Transparency in Regulatory Science,” which would limit the use of critical research in EPA decision-making. We believe this rule would have the effect of erecting barriers to science-based decisions in the regulatory process, and could remove consideration of public health studies that might otherwise improve health outcomes of children with asthma.
Bob Berenson, Visiting Scholar and Senior Advisor for Value Initiatives at Families USA, and Alan Lazaroff, American Geriatrics Society, explain in this Health Affairs blog that The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ proposed rule that makes changes to the Medicare physician fee schedule would worsen payment incentives for clinicians, compromising the quality of care and increasing costs for seniors.
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.
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.
We would like to share just one story about how a Medicare oral health benefit could change someone’s life. Cheryl in Olympia, Washington, has gone nearly 10 years without comprehensive oral health care.