June 15, 2016
The Honorable Jim McDermott
United States House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515
Dear Representative McDermott:
On behalf of the millions of members and supporters of the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare, I am writing to endorse H.R. 5396, the “Medicare Dental, Vision, and Hearing Benefit Act of 2016.” It is our hope that action will be taken on your legislation during the current 114th Congress.
The “Medicare Dental, Vision, and Hearing Benefit Act” would help millions of Medicare beneficiaries who need vision, hearing and dental care, which are not covered by Medicare. Paying for these services is a hardship for many Medicare beneficiaries, half of whom live on incomes below $24,150 per year. Medicare households spend on average 15 percent of their income on health care – for Medicare cost sharing and for services not covered by Medicare – which is over two times more than younger households spend on health care.
Routine dental services are very important to the overall health of Medicare beneficiaries, and today, many Medicare beneficiaries suffer isolation and severe health problems because they cannot afford to pay for vision and hearing examinations or to buy eyeglasses or hearing aids. For these reasons, the National Committee’s current Legislative Agenda includes support for expanding Medicare benefits to cover vision, hearing and dental health services and equipment, which are important for healthy aging.
Thank you for your leadership on this important issue. We look forward to working with you to secure enactment of the “Medicare Dental, Vision, and Hearing Benefit Act,” which would improve the Medicare program for today's seniors as well as future generations of beneficiaries.
President and CEO