Dental Associations Clash Over Medicare

It is essential to provide some perspective regarding “Dentists’ Group Fights Medicare Coverage” (U.S. News, Sept. 28), concerning the American Dental Association. The National Dental Association (NDA) is advocating for a Medicare dental benefit. Members of the NDA have accepted Medicaid patients at a rate of over 60% participation since the implementation of Medicaid in the 1960s, and we believe that our position gains credibility from our experience in the delivery of care to underserved populations.

We do not believe that there should be a needs test or co-payments for those who have paid into the Medicare program for their healthcare. Oral healthcare is a part of healthcare and can lead to significant cost savings. A study by the Dental Trade Alliance found that treating gum disease led to medical cost savings of $5,681 a year, with hospitalizations reduced by 39%. Diabetics receiving care saved $39 billion in medical costs annually. That doesn’t include the cost savings from a reduction in emergency-room services. Those savings could be used to provide dental services without needs testing or co-payments.

The NDA has been in existence since 1913, serving those with limited access to dental care, such as seniors. The greedy dentist shouldn’t be the public perception. Our members project what we would hope the dental profession represents: caring professionals serving the community.

Nathan Fletcher, D.D.S.

Source: Dental Associations Clash Over Medicare / Wall Street Journal

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