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July 2019

Putting Teeth in Medicare for All: An August Recess Toolkit for Oral Health

Affordable oral health care is necessary for all of us to stay healthy and pain-free. This August recess, use this toolkit help your networks understand that any effort to reform the U.S. health coverage system must include comprehensive oral health coverage to fully improve American’s health and reduce health costs. These tools include talking points, background information, a sign on letter showing broad support for this issue, sample social media posts, and consumer stories to help you engage the current, high profile health care discussions about coverage reforms to highlight that oral health coverage is a much needed, responsible investment for everyone in this country.

 

Talking Points

  • Oral health is a critical part of overall health that should not be left out of a person’s health care coverage. Poor oral health is linked to many other diseases and medical conditions, as well as lost school and work hours. Yet, for many people in America, dental coverage remains out of reach.
  • Whether policymakers are considering systemic reforms to the health care system or smaller fixes to Medicare, Medicaid, and/or the ACA, it is critical that oral health be addressed.
  • Millions of Americans cannot afford to get the oral health care they need to stay healthy. More than any other health care treatment, people skip dental care because they are unable to pay, even more so than for prescription drugs and other medical services. Better oral health coverage would mean fewer skipped dental visits and better overall health.
  • Medicare’s current exclusion of dental care from coverage leaves millions of seniors and people with disabilities without access to the oral health care they need to stay healthy. An estimated 70% of seniors lack or have limited dental insurance, and fewer than half access dental care each year.

Questions For Policy Makers

  • Many [insert Americans or state name] face barriers to good oral health, including lack of accessible dental insurance, unaffordable care, shortages of oral health providers, and others. How would you include oral health in your health care proposals to improve access to services or eliminate barriers to oral health care in our communities?
  • Many [insert Americans or state name] are concerned about the high and rising cost of their health care, and dental care is one of the health needs that Americans are least able to afford. In fact, the cost of oral health care is the number one reason that people cannot get the health care they need to stay healthy and pain-free. How would you design health care proposals that help people afford oral health care, including care to prevent or fix dental problems?
  • While many people are focusing on plans such as “Medicare for All,” “Medicare at 50,” and others, Medicare does not currently cover dental services — in fact, it explicitly excludes them. Millions of seniors and people with disabilities do not have oral health coverage to help them afford the care they need to stay healthy, maintain a nutritious diet, and live pain-free. How would you address the lack of Medicare dental coverage for seniors and people with disabilities?

Suggested Tweets

  • This August Recess, #HealthReform remains a hot topic. It's important for us to keep #OralHealth front and center. Millions of Americans experience poor oral health due to the lack of #OralHealthCoverage in public insurance. http://bit.ly/2Or5rKI
  • #OralHealth is crucial to being healthy. Yet, the #1 reason Americans lack access to #OralHealthCoverage is the cost of #DentalCare. It’s time for #OralHealth to be included in #HealthCareReform proposals.
  • #Medicare’s current exclusion of #DentalCare from coverage leaves seniors and people with disabilities without access to the #OralHealthCare they need. #MedicareforAll and other #UniversalCoverage proposals must include #oralhealth to truly keep Americans healthy.
  • Comprehensive #OralHealth coverage allows us all to have better overall health and improved quality of life. #OralHealthCoverage remains out of reach for millions of Americans and deserves more attention in current #UniversalCoverage proposals. http://bit.ly/2Or5rKI
  • Millions of Americans can't afford to get the #OralHealthCare they need. More than any other health care treatment, people skip dental care because they are unable to pay. It’s time to raise the need for oral health in #UniversalCoverage debates. http://bit.ly/2Or5rKI

Consumer Quote Graphics
Click HERE to download.

Background Information
Click HERE to download.

Sign-On Letter
Click HERE to download

Want to take action? Join Families USA and Children’s Dental Health Project on August 20th at 3pm for a Twitter Chat where you can put these tools to use.