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Wednesday, May 29, 2019

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Rep. Nanette Diaz Barragán (CA-44) introduced the Medicare Dental Benefit Act of 2019, H.R. 2951, a bill that creates a dental benefit under Medicare Part B. Currently, Medicare does not cover routine oral health care services like checkups, cleanings and x-rays, restorative procedures or dentures.

“Having good oral care is essential to our overall well-being,” said Rep. Barragán. “By increasing access to dental benefits in Medicare, we can mitigate certain health risks and prevent numerous conditions. This bill would repeal the exclusion of dental care on Medicare coverage and provides necessary oral care services to those who need it most – older Americans.”

Two-thirds of the elderly and individuals with disabilities in the Medicare program, often living on a fixed income, do not have oral health coverage. When individuals forego care, their overall health suffers, worsening both oral health conditions that are often painful and chronic disease such as diabetes and heart disease.

This legislation is a companion bill of S.22, introduced by Senator Cardin in January.

The Medicare Dental Benefit Act of 2019 is supported by Families USA, American Association of Public Heath Dentistry, American Dental Hygienists’ Association, Center for Medicare Advocacy, Children’s Dental Health Project, Community Catalyst, Justice in Aging, National Dental Association and the Santa Fe Group.

“The Medicare Dental Benefit Act would add dental coverage to Part B of the Medicare program, meaning that millions of seniors and people with disabilities could access the dental services the exact same way they are covered for other services they need to support their overall health,” said the organizations.