House Returns from Recess to Vote on Budget Resolution

  • by AGD Washington Advocacy Representative
  • Aug 24, 2021
Members of the U.S. House of Representatives returned to Washington D.C. on August 23 to begin considering the adoption of a budget framework that would set the stage for their $3.5 trillion social spending and tax bill, a multi-year physical infrastructure package, and a voting rights bill. 

The $3.5 trillion Budget Resolution (S. Con. Res. 14) includes “expanding Medicare to include dental, vision, hearing benefits and lowering the eligibility age” as recommended policy instruction for Congressional Committees to include in an eventual Budget Reconciliation package. Expanding Medicare to include dental benefits is reportedly the top healthcare priority in the Reconciliation package for the Democratic leadership.

The Congressional Committees of jurisdiction have not released draft legislative language on Medicare dental benefits expansion yet. However, several different legislative proposals (H.R.4311, H.R.4650, S.97/H.R.502) on the subject have been introduced in the House and Senate, which may serve as a model for the language included in the Budget Reconciliation package. All these bills would expand Medicare Part B coverage to include comprehensive dental and oral health services.

The Budget Reconciliation process allows the Senate to pass certain bills with a simple majority (51 votes), meaning they would not need any Republican support. However, there is still uncertainty whether all 50 Senate Democrats will support the passage of the Reconciliation package this fall.

Impact on General Dentistry: AGD is working with allies in organized dentistry and the broader oral health industry to address the pending Medicare dental expansion issue. AGD has also directly engaged with the Senate Finance Committee to communicate opposition to Medicare’s expansion to include dental benefits. AGD supports enhanced benefits and reimbursement in private sector initiatives for dental benefits, and AGD believes that the Medicare program cannot sustain the inclusion of dental benefits.