VA Dental Care Expansion Bill to Undergo Markup

  • by AGD Washington Advocacy Representative
  • Jan 18, 2022
S. 3017, the Veterans Dental Care Eligibility Expansion and Enhancement Act, will reportedly undergo markup in the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs sometime in the near future. The legislation, introduced by Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT), would eliminate current eligibility restrictions for dental care under the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and expand dental coverage to all veterans receiving VA health care. The VA has reported that out of the 9.2 million veterans enrolled in VA health care, only about 1.4 million are currently eligible for comprehensive dental care.

S. 3017 would require the VA to establish dental clinics in all U.S. states and to test the feasibility of selecting locations in rural areas and in areas that are not in close proximity to active-duty military bases. The legislation would also establish an education program promoting oral health literacy among veterans and create a student loan repayment program to incentivize dentists and hygienists to serve under the VA’s dental workforce.

Impact on General Dentistry: The AGD is a strong proponent of policies and programs that improve the nation’s oral health. The AGD is reviewing S. 3017 and monitoring the actions being undertaken by the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs.