January 16, 2019
The Honorable Ben Cardin
United States Senate
Washington, DC 20510
Dear Senator Cardin:
On behalf of the millions of members and supporters of the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare, I am writing to express our support for S. 22, the “Medicare Dental Benefit Act,” which would provide coverage for dental services under the Medicare program. We support your proposal to provide comprehensive oral health care as a Part B benefit.
Medicare goes a long way in preventing poverty and promoting greater access to health care however, this program’s coverage is not comprehensive. In addition to cost-sharing – for premiums, deductibles and coinsurance – Medicare beneficiaries must pay out of pocket for gaps in coverage which include dental care. Lack of affordable dental coverage options, provider shortages and lack of preventive programs in communities across the country are creating serious hardships for older adults. Lack of dental insurance is a major access barrier to dental care for older adults, and neglect of oral health may result in the deterioration of overall physical health. The absence of routine dental exams and cleanings can exacerbate serious and complicated overall health problems that increase with age.
Thank you for your leadership on this important improvement to the Medicare program. Providing access to dental services would go a long way toward helping older adults remain healthy, productive and as independent as possible in their homes and communities, which is what we want for ourselves and our family members. We look forward to working with you to secure enactment of the “Medicare Dental Benefit Act,” which would greatly benefit current and future Medicare beneficiaries.
President and CEO