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2021 Federal Legislation News

S 2618 – Medicare and Medicaid Dental, Vision, and Hearing Benefit Act of 2021

Federal Bill S 2618 supports the Dignity Alliance MA Goal 3 – Home and Community-Based Supports and Services improvement and expansion of opportunities. DAM has endorsed this legislation.

U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA), Chairman of the U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging, held a hearing on August 20, 2021 entitled, “Eyes, Ears and Teeth: Expanding Medicare to Cover Whole Person Care.” The hearing examined the need to strengthen and expand Medicare to include coverage for vision, dental and hearing.

“Poor access to basic care poses a serious health risk to older Americans,” said Chairman Casey. “Fifteen percent of older adults have lost all of their teeth due to untreated dental disease. Vision loss is associated with an increased risk of falls and mobility limitations, and hearing loss can lead to both social isolation and cognitive decline. There is no excuse for that in the most powerful county in the world. That’s why I introduced a bill to cover dental, vision, and hearing in Medicare and strengthen coverage in Medicaid.”

In addition to highlighting his Medicare and Medicaid Dental, Vision and Hearing Benefit Act (S. 2618), Chairman Casey also advocated for allowing Medicare to use its purchasing power to bring down the cost of prescription drugs. These policies are being considered in the Senate’s budget reconciliation package currently being negotiated.