Majority Press

Casey Holds Hearing On Expanding Medicare to Include Vision, Dental and Hearing Services

Chairman Casey holds field hearing in Luzerne County, PA

Washington, DC – Today, U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA), Chairman of the U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging, held a hearing entitled, “Eyes, Ears and Teeth: Expanding Medicare to Cover Whole Person Care.” The hearing, held in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, examined the need to strengthen and expand Medicare to include coverage for vision, dental and hearing.

“Poor access to basic care poses a serious health risk to older Americans,” said Chairman Casey. “Fifteen percent of older adults have lost all of their teeth due to untreated dental disease. Vision loss is associated with an increased risk of falls and mobility limitations, and hearing loss can lead to both social isolation and cognitive decline. There is no excuse for that in the most powerful county in the world. That’s why I introduced a bill to cover dental, vision, and hearing in Medicare and strengthen coverage in Medicaid.”

In addition to highlighting his Medicare and Medicaid Dental, Vision and Hearing Benefit Act (S. 2618), Chairman Casey also advocated for allowing Medicare to use its purchasing power to bring down the cost of prescription drugs. These policies are being considered in the Senate’s budget reconciliation package currently being negotiated.

During the hearing, Chairman Casey heard from Joanne Grossi, president of AARP Pennsylvania; Joseph Hollander, CEO of Scranton Primary Health; Robin Stelly, a statewide organizer with the Pennsylvania Health Access Network; and Kelly Ranieli, the executive director of Volunteers in Medicine, a free medical and dental clinic in Luzerne County.

View the Aging Committee hearing HERE.