A proposal to expand Medicare benefits tucked into a $3.5 trillion Democratic budget proposal is facing pushback from the American Dental Association.
Proponents of the proposed plan have said it would help provide care to Medicare patients who might not be able to afford it otherwise. The dental association, however, has argued that the proposal won’t reimburse enough to cover their costs, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal.
They are instead pushing an alternative plan that would provide benefits to the lowest-income Medicare patients.
“If you don’t focus on low-income seniors, you are just wasting your money,” Michael Graham, the ADA’s senior vice president for government and public affairs, told WSJ.
The Medicare expansion proposal also seeks to add vision and dental coverage. Overall, it would cost an estimated $358 billion over 10 years, according to an assessment by the Congressional Budget Office. Trade groups for vision and hearing specialists have not lobbied against adding those benefits to Medicare, the report noted.
“Dental care is a medical necessity, and I’m happy to see the door open to adding it to Medicare,” Raymond Gist, DDS, a Michigan dentist, and member of the National Dental Association and ADA, said.
“My concern is that once policy makers see any opposition to something with a big price tag, it gives them a reason to eliminate it from consideration,” he added.