One of the most consequential shortfalls within the American health care system is that health insurance – whether public or private or a combination of the two – often does not include coverage for dental, hearing, or vision, despite their obvious importance. And while some plans do offer basic levels of care for ears, eyes, and teeth, full coverage through supplemental plans can be expensive, which is why Democrats in Congress are getting louder about the need to reform Medicare to cover those essential bodily functions.
On Sunday, Senate Majority Chuck Schumer (D-NY) joined Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) – chair of the Budget Committee – to demand action from lawmakers as they debate President Joe Biden’s massive infrastructure proposal.
“If you talk to family medicine or primary care doctors, they will tell you with certainty that ignoring medical issues related to dental, vision and hearing often devolves into far more serious medical problems for people — especially seniors — that cost more to treat and are harder to remedy. With the current Medicare platform, those three things are just left out, like it’s no big deal. But it is a big deal and we should fix it. This is absolutely an uphill legislative effort because there are some in the Senate who really don’t think this is a problem worth fixing, and so we have to galvanize support from the public,” said Schumer. “Now is our chance to fix a giant Medicare health care hole for seniors that inevitably costs lives,” Schumer said at a news conference as reported by the New York Daily News.
“There is a gaping hole in Medicare that leaves out dental, vision, and hearing coverage. This is a serious problem,” Schumer later added on Twitter. “I’m working with @SenSanders to push to include dental, vision, and hearing Medicare coverage in the American Jobs and Families Plans.”
There is a gaping hole in Medicare that leaves out dental, vision, and hearing coverage.
This is a serious problem.
I’m working with @SenSanders to push to include dental, vision, and hearing Medicare coverage in the American Jobs and Families Plans.
— Chuck Schumer (@SenSchumer) June 20, 2021
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Brandon is a political writer for the Hill Reporter specializing in current events, breaking news, and scientific discovery. Brandon holds a Bachelor of Music degree from Indiana University. He lives in New York City.