Democratic Congressional leaders had also hoped to include new benefits for seniors to cover dental, vision and hearing in their Medicare legislative package this year but those also appear to be in danger.
According to an article in the Washington, D.C.-based newspaper Politico, “Means-testing Medicare, a long-running controversy in health policy debates, is re-emerging as a major source of tension for Democrats seeking a path forward on their stalled social spending package.
“Centrist lawmakers are demanding that an expansion of the program to cover dental, vision and hearing care be limited to the poorest Americans, to pare the projected cost by as much as half.”
The report continues, “The American Dental Association is aiming to have a leading role influencing the outcome, buying digital ads, sending tens of thousands of emails to Capitol Hill and holding Zoom meetings with lawmakers and staff.”
That’s because traditional Medicare would pay dentists far less for services than private insurance and the group’s members would lose money if Democrats make tens of millions of seniors eligible for a government-sponsored plan.
However, critics of the idea argue that limiting the program to poorer seniors makes all of society less invested in maintaining the program, making it more politically vulnerable to getting cut back or eliminated in years to come.
TSCL favors new benefits to cover dental, hearing and vision for seniors. However, until final legislation is written so we can see what and how it covers those things, we are withholding our judgement.