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The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has estimated that adding dental, vision and hearing benefits would increase Medicare direct spending, but the American Dental Association (ADA) claims reimbursement will not be enough to cover those costs.

The American Dental Association (ADA) is fighting a proposal to include dental coverage for all Medicare beneficiaries, The Wall Street Journal reported.

On September 15, the House Energy and Trade Committee put forward the terms of a $ 3.5 trillion budget reconciliation plan, which included a proposal to expand visual benefits under the health insurance in 2022, a hearing in 2023 and dental care in 2028.

Supporters of the bill argue that it will provide necessary care for those who cannot afford these blankets. However, the ADA has said Medicare will not reimburse enough money to cover costs and is advocating an alternative that would still benefit Medicare beneficiaries with the lowest incomes.

“The ADA opposes the Medicare dental provision as proposed in the bill passed by the committee, but supports an alternative proposal expanding access to oral health care for low-income seniors,” ADA News reported. “ADA’s proposal is consistent with ADA policy and includes a range of services necessary to achieve and maintain the oral health of beneficiaries whose incomes reach 300% of the federal poverty line. “

According to a letter from congressional budget office (CBO) addressed to the committee, the bill would increase direct spending by about $ 40 billion and revenues by about $ 46 billion over the period 2020-2029. The CBO also estimated that Title VI of the plan, which would add new benefits for dental, vision and hearing care under Medicare, such as dentures, glasses, hearing aids and preventive services. , would increase direct spending by around $ 358 billion over 10 years. .

Of this amount, the CBO claims that nearly $ 238 billion will go to dental care; $ 30 billion vision care; and $ 89 billion, hearing services.

In a live video of a session, Kurt Schrader (D-OR) expressed his reservations about adding additional services to Medicare.

“I have very serious concerns about adding additional programs, services and costs as Medicare itself faces insolvency in just 5 years. We kind of forgot this fact, “he said. “Even the Part B program is consuming more and more general fund income. We cannot afford the current benefits at this time. “

In the letter from the CBO, he added that the increase in income would mainly be due to the availability of lower drug prices, which would reduce the estimated cost of health insurance offered by employers.

The bill has been forwarded to the House Budget Committee and House Rules Committee and will now go to the House for a full vote. After the votes in the House, the bill will then go to the Senate.

According to The Wall Street Journal, no Republican Senate member should vote for any version of the legislation, and CMS has said it is ready to implement whatever is approved by Congress.

The ADA is currently asking its 162,000 members to contact lawmakers opposed to the bill.

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Julio V. Miller

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