Schumer urges Medicare to cover dental, vision and hearing aids
STATEN ICELAND, NY – Citing a long-standing medical shortage that has weighed on people for too long, Senator Charles Schumer, New York, urges Medicare to cover dental, vision and hearing services.
“When I speak to people out and about in their communities, the most common thing I hear is the gaping healthcare void in Medicare that is simply missing coverage for seniors’ dental, vision and hearing skills – but now we have a real chance to fix that.” said Schumer.
Schumer said the upcoming legislation, which he co-chairs the Senate with Senator Bernie Sanders – the Jobs & Family Plan – may help address that lack of coverage. Statistics show the lack of coverage in dentistry, eyesight and hearing has implications for the country’s overall health, including costs.
âIf you speak to a general practitioner or general practitioner, they will be sure to tell you that ignoring medical problems related to tooth, vision, and hearing often leads to much more serious medical problems for people – especially the elderly – who are more expensive and difficult to treat to fix, âhe added. “The current Medicare platform just leaves these three things out, as if it’s not a big deal, but it’s a big deal – and we should fix it.”
Since its inception in 1965, Medicare has provided guaranteed health benefits to Americans 65 and older, regardless of income or health status. But it didn’t cover teeth, eyesight, or hearing.
The result, Sanders recently wrote, is that millions of seniors have rotting teeth, cannot hear what their children or grandchildren are saying, or cannot read the newspaper because of poor eyesight.
Schumer pointed out to Harvard Medicine the hidden dental dangers that can threaten the whole body, such as untreated tooth decay, where bacteria can infect the tooth root and form an abscess. If left untreated, it can reach the brain or act on the body in other harmful ways. Untreated gum disease can lead to tooth loss and abscesses, and people with gum disease are more likely to have high blood pressure, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, osteoporosis, Alzheimer’s disease, and pneumonia.
There are also hidden risks for hearing loss, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine. In a study that followed 639 adults for nearly 12 years, Johns Hopkins found that mild hearing loss doubled the risk of dementia, moderate hearing loss tripled the risk of dementia, and people with severe hearing loss were five times more likely to develop dementia.
The total loss or deterioration of existing eyesight can be scary and overwhelming, and leaves people wondering if they can maintain their independence, pay for medical care, keep a job, and care for themselves and their families.
And an estimated 1 million Americans over the age of 65 have had glaucoma-related vision loss, and approximately 75% of those legally blind from glaucoma are over 65, according to the American Family Physician (AFP).
âNow we have a chance to work with President Biden, Senator Sanders, and others to close a huge Medicare health hole for seniors that inevitably costs lives, dollars, and lacks medical common sense – and so I will urge you to do so reach. â, said Schumer.
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