Senator Calls for Medicare Dental Benefit to be Included in Infrastructure Package

  • by AGD Washington Advocacy Representative
  • Apr 1, 2021
Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) told reporters on March 26 that he is urging the Administration and his Democratic colleagues in Congress to include a massive expansion of the Medicare program as part of a sweeping infrastructure package Democrats are currently developing. 

Medicare expansion may lower the eligibility age from 65 to 55 or 60 and expand Medicare benefits to cover dental, vision, and hearing services. Sen. Sanders believes that the added costs of expanding Medicare benefits could be offset by allowing Medicare to negotiate drug prices. Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) also said earlier in the week on March 23 that Democrats were discussing the inclusion of a drug pricing provision in the upcoming infrastructure legislation.

Congressional Democrats are currently exploring the possibility of using the budget reconciliation process for a second time this year to pass the forthcoming $3 trillion-plus infrastructure package. 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. AGD believes that the Medicare program cannot sustain the inclusion of dental benefits.