Representative Chan files legislation to provide full dental coverage for senior citizens
An Act Relative to Providing Dental Care to Senior Citizens
State Representative Tackey Chan (D-Quincy) filed legislation, An Act Relative to Providing Dental Care to Senior Citizens, to expand the current Medicare coverage to include comprehensive dental benefits. “Dental care is very expensive and essential to promoting good health and longevity,” said Representative Chan. Many senior citizens are on fixed incomes and because of the high cost of dental care are forced to sacrifice getting proper dental care in favor of basic needs.
The proposed bill would expand Medicaid to provide necessary dental care for seniors, and prohibit the elimination of such care. “We should not have our seniors choosing between which health care issue they need to address nor should they need to choose between paying for bare essentials and proper medical care,” said Representative Chan.
This is important as poor oral health results in nutritional and psycho-social compromises. This reality affects poor seniors disproportionately. Many with chronic illnesses are more likely to suffer poorer outcomes requiring expensive and long-term medical care. “Oral Health America” conducted a poll which reveals such inadequacies. They found that despite older adults believing oral health to be an integral part of health, 40% of seniors with household incomes of $50,000 or less were having trouble chewing foods and 59% were without dental insurance.
The grassroots efforts in putting together this bill has so far been fruitful. It has received bipartisan support through twenty eight cosponsors.