FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
12 September 2023
Contact: Kevin McGuire, 202-538-2386 (mobile)
WASHINGTON – Today, Congresswoman Nanette Barragán (CA-44), member of the House Energy & Commerce Health Subcommittee, and Congressman Lloyd Doggett (TX-37), Ranking Member of the House Ways and Means Health Subcommittee, led 110 Members in supporting the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) proposed rule to expand medically necessary dental coverage to patients with all forms of cancer and permit Medicare payment for dental services prior to chemotherapy and other immunotherapies. The Members also urged CMS to include additional clarification of coverage for dental services prior to radiation therapy as well as coverage in conjunction with treatment of several other conditions, including blood disorders and autoimmune diseases.
“We applaud CMS for continuing to recognize the need to maximize its authority to cover medically necessary dental care in Medicare. Medicare’s lack of dental coverage not only leaves oral health care unaffordable for millions of Americans, it also exacerbates underlying and related racial, geographic and disability-related health and wealth disparities. Improved Medicare coverage for medically necessary dental care will help millions of people get healthy without having to make impossible financial tradeoffs, and would mitigate some of these persistent health inequities,” wrote the Members.
“The proposal to include additional clinical scenarios under ‘medically necessary’ dental coverage would help to improve equitable access to dental services and lead to better health outcomes, in line with the Administration’s goals of increasing equitable access to high quality and affordable health care. Continuing to identify additional services that fall under this coverage standard is also an important step toward comprehensive Medicare dental coverage, as it will help build the infrastructure and provider participation that would support a full dental benefit when it is eventually enacted by Congress,” the Members continued.
Last year, Reps. Barragán and Doggett successfully pushed for CMS to expand Medicare dental coverage for treatment related to organ transplant surgery, cardiac valve replacement, valvuloplasty procedures, and head and neck cancers.
Read the full comment letter, with a list of signatories, here.
Nanette Diaz Barragán is proud to represent California’s 44th Congressional District, which includes the communities of Bellflower, Carson, Harbor City, Harbor Gateway, Lakewood, Long Beach, Lynwood, Paramount, Rancho Dominguez, San Pedro, South Gate, West Carson, and Wilmington. She serves as Chair of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, and on the House Energy and Commerce Committee and Health, Environment, Manufacturing, and Critical Minerals Subcommittees.