Will Medicare Soon Include Dental Coverage and More?

Will Medicare Soon Include Dental Coverage and More?

There’s an old saying: “Laws are like sausages; it is better not to see them being made.”

That has never been truer than in this Congress.  In trying to craft the new legislation to improve Medicare benefits and lower drug prices, it turns out it’s not just Democrat vs. Republican, it’s also Senate vs. House, Democrat vs. Democrat, and to a lesser extent, Republican vs. Republican.

According to a report in Bloomberg Government News, “Centrist Democrats in the House are pushing to shrink their party’s health-care wish list to focus more on low-income Americans, a move backed by industry groups including dentists who say a narrower focus is better policy.

“The group of Democrats blocked one committee from advancing their party’s drug-pricing legislation, with two members arguing it was too far-reaching and could stymie innovation in the pharmaceutical industry. Some of those Democrats also want to rein in a proposal to expand Medicare to include dental coverage, a high priority for progressives such as Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.).”

The report continues, “Two House panels last week approved legislation adding vision, hearing and dental coverage to Medicare. Dental is by far the most expensive and complicated of the three to roll out: the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office previously estimated that such coverage would cost $238 billion over 10 years, compared with $30 billion for vision and $89 billion for hearing coverage.

“To lower the expected cost of these new benefits, House Democrats have proposed introducing the new dental benefits starting in 2028, ramping up the coverage over five years.”

TSCL has long supported adding vision, dental and hearing benefits to Medicare, as well as supporting legislation to lower prescription drug prices.  We are waiting to see what the final bills look like that come out of the House and Senate before we determine what kind of endorsement to give.