Cheryl will gladly tell you that good dental health is key to our survival.

I’ve been getting dental maintenance from Cheryl for thirty years. 

It used to be paid for by our employer-based insurance. Medicare doesn’t cover it and so I pay out of pocket. We calculated the cost of crappy dental insurance on the private market and so we take a risk that nothing really bad will happen.

We will lose that bet.

My visits to Cheryl are more frequent now that I am older. Every four months rather than every six. 

Cheryl will gladly tell you that good dental health is key to my survival. And after my recent bout with kidney cancer, I need all the help I can get.

Medicare expansion would help the growing senior population. We often struggle with hefty out-of-pocket medical expenses.

Democrats on the Senate Budget Committee agreed Tuesday on a $3.5 trillion spending level for a bill to carry most of President Joe Biden’s economic agenda into law without Republican support. 

The bill would include one key item that wasn’t in Biden’s plans: vision, dental and hearing benefits for Medicare recipients, who are disproportionately those over 65 years old.

We can thank Bernie for that.

The bill would provide tens of millions of seniors — many of whom are low incomes — with care that we don’t currently have, likely boosting not only health spending but also freeing up money to go toward other goods and services, particularly essential goods. 

With 10,000 of us turning 65 each day Democrats hope the expanded coverage will also help provide them political wins.

The Republicans are hoping race baiting will give them control of the House. 

Medicare expansion is one good response.

“This would be a very significant change for Medicare,” said Tricia Neuman, executive director of the Kaiser Family Foundation’s program on Medicare policy, who said it would be the biggest change since the start of Medicare’s drug benefit in 2006. “How big an impact it will have will depend on the details of the proposals.”

Medicare expansion would increase Medicare spending by roughly $358 billion in the decade through 2029, according to a Congressional Budget Office estimate of a previous similar proposal. 

Two-thirds of that would be for dental and oral health, the nonpartisan agency said. Government spending on this level would provide a boost for gross domestic product.

Dental care, which is closely linked to overall health, is one of the most expensive services. 

About 30 million of my brother and sister seniors haven’t had a dental appointment in the past year, according to Kaiser Family Foundation, including

A quarter of us over 65 years old have disabling hearing loss, according to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders.

That includes me.

Those of us with hearing loss have much higher health costs and lower employment, said Amanda Davis, a senior adviser at AARP. For Medicare-aged beneficiaries those with hearing loss have been found to have less in savings and higher medical bills.

Hearing loss is estimated to cost those affected $297,000 over their lifetime, according to a study published in 2000 by the International Journal of Technology Assessment in Health Care. 

And the total national cost of first-year hearing loss treatment is projected to rise to $51.4 billion in 2030 from $8.2 billion in 2002, according to a 2010 study in Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

3 thoughts on “Cheryl will gladly tell you that good dental health is key to our survival.

  1. Cut back on trips to Italy, NYC and California. Save the planet while saving your teeth. We don’t want you to stop gnashing and biting the stingy Illinois legislature with pictures and prose and occasional verse.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s