How would Medicare for All affect dental insurance?


Learn how Medicare for All could affect dental plans

It’s that time again, campaign season for the upcoming elections in 2020. As we approach the election season, there are many presidential candidates and members of Congress who are supporting a new Medicare for All program. We’ll take a brief look at what is proposed and how it could affect dental care.

What is Medicare for All?

The term “Medicare-for-All” was made prominent by Senator Bernie Sanders as he has lobbied for a single payer system for medical that would create universal health coverage. After Democrats took control of the House of Representatives in 2018, Congressional leaders have also introduced their own version of a Medicare for All bill.

While there are differences in the two versions of the bill, this proposed legislation is designed to enroll all US citizens in the Medicare program that currently covers seniors who are aged 65 or older. This would result in the elimination of the private health insurance system, while turning over control of medical coverage to the federal government. All US residents would be eligible for the program.

Does “Medicare for All” include dental?

What about dental care? The current version of Medicare that covers seniors 65 and older does not include coverage for routine dental care. However the new versions of a Medicare for All program envision a much more robust set of benefits and services including dental care.

The covered services include most necessary medical care with no deductibles, copays, or cost sharing. The bill also proposes to include benefits for dental, vision, and hearing care, which are not covered services in the current Medicare program.

Obviously if the Medicare-for-All bill were to gain enough support become law, then it would likely disrupt the dental insurance market as the government would take over the financing of routine dental care. However we don’t know the specifics of what dental services the program would cover and at what levels.

While the current versions of the legislation include dental coverage, it is entirely possible this could be adjusted in the future, especially if cost cutting to the program is needed in order to win support for the bill.

Will Medicare-for-All be passed?

Currently the support for “Medicare for All” has been strictly in the Democratic Party. Republican leaders have favored reforms to the existing private healthcare markets. It is clear that this will be a major topic for presidential and congressional candidates in the upcoming elections. The result will be that the party who wins future elections will be more likely to implement their healthcare agenda into law.

However there is one other major obstacle that may prove to be the deciding factor in any single payer medical program. It is the cost of a Medicare for All program. Some early projections have estimated that the program could cost as much as $32 trillion over 10 years. In terms of government programs, that is a very large number.

Rough estimates also dictate that any large scale federal healthcare program would require an increase in taxes, which could erode support for the bill with voters. How the American people respond regarding these factors will ultimately determine the fate of any single payer government program.

What’s next for Medicare for All?

While there are many opinions on both sides of this political argument, it is an idea that is being discussed in many circles and needs to be fully considered due to the huge ramifications that it would entail. It is still early days, but the topic deserves a full debate of the possible effects it could have over one fifth of the US economy.

We’ll continue to monitor the progress and discussion surrounding Medicare for All. As presidential candidates including Senator’s Bernie Sanders, Kamala Harris, Elizabeth Warren, Corey Booker, Kristen Gillibrand and others tout the benefits of Medicare for All, the public will be able to form their own opinions regarding the proposed program.

One thing is for sure, the issue of healthcare, will continue to be a big topic of conversation in the country, especially during the upcoming election season.

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