Congress is poised to strengthen our country’s safety net, including adding critical benefits to the Medicare program. Today, the House Ways & Means Committee began to mark-up legislation that would add dental, hearing and vision benefits to the Medicare program.
As we noted in a CMA Alert last week, the need is great: among other things, the lack of dental care can exacerbate chronic medical conditions, and hearing loss and vision loss are associated with higher risk of falls, depression and cognitive impairment.
The Center has written extensively on the need for a dental benefit in Medicare, including fact sheets that address the relationship between oral health and particular chronic conditions. We also drafted a fact sheet and FAQ with Families USA and Justice in Aging highlighting why a dental benefit must be in Part B. In addition, we have highlighted the need for hearing and vision care, including a recent article in STAT news about the need for hearing aid and hearing services.
Now is the time to make your voices heard – as the Center and colleague organizations work to highlight other priorities for improving Medicare, and push for the proposals currently under consideration to be more robust. This moment presents a truly rare opportunity to legislate a meaningful expansion of Medicare benefits. It is a crucial time for people to contact and urge their federal lawmakers to make important improvements to the program for all current and future generations of Medicare beneficiaries. If Congress misses this chance, it could be a very long time before we will see another opportunity.
The following link allows you to send an automatic email to your members of Congress asking them to improve the traditional Medicare program by: Controlling private Medicare Advantage and prescription drug costs; adding an out-of-pocket cap; adding dental, hearing and vision services; improve affordability, including strengthening low-income protections, and expanding rights to purchase Medigap policies: https://secure.everyaction.com/0Yho6AcLSkSqYlPesPMO4g2.
Here is a separate link asking members of Congress to support adding a comprehensive dental benefit to Medicare: https://secure.everyaction.com/pa3W02ObtUqwRFH6-stqoQ2.
If you prefer to call or write a letter to your elected representatives, you can obtain the contact information for your U.S. Senators on the “Find Your Senators” pull-down menu on the following site: https://www.senate.gov/. You can obtain the contact information for your U.S. Representative by typing in your zip code at the following webpage: https://www.house.gov/representatives/find-your-representative.
Now is the time to act!
September 9, 2021 – D. Lipschutz