New Medicare Dental Expansion Proposals Introduced in Congress

  • by AGD Washington Advocacy Representative
  • Jul 29, 2021
The Medicare Dental, Vision, and Hearing Benefit Act (H.R.4311) from Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D-TX) and the Medicare Dental Coverage Act (H.R.4650) from Rep. Robin Kelly (D-IL) were both recently introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives. Both bills would expand Medicare Part B coverage to include comprehensive dental and oral health services.

Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD) and Representative Nanette Diaz Barragán (D-CA) introduced a piece of similar legislation, the Medicare Dental Benefit Act of 2021 (S.97/H.R.502), earlier this year.

Expanding Medicare to include dental coverage through Part B is a priority for Democratic leadership in Congress, who are trying to pass such proposals through the budget reconciliation process. The proposed $3.5 trillion budget resolution is anticipated to incorporate a wide range of Democratic priorities ranging from healthcare to infrastructure. Notably, budget reconciliation allows the Senate to pass certain bills with a simple majority (51 votes), meaning they would not need any Republican support.

Impact on General Dentistry: AGD supports enhanced benefits and reimbursement in private sector initiatives for dental benefits while remaining opposed to Medicare’s expansion to include dental benefits. Many AGD members communicated opposition to the various Medicare dental expansion proposals to their members of Congress during the recent Virtual Hill Day event. AGD believes that the Medicare program cannot sustain the inclusion of dental benefits.