Report: Cost Is a Deterrent to Dental Care for Some Adults

Cost is a major factor keeping people from access dental care, a report released today by the American Dental Association Health Policy Institute and Families USA.

Low-income adults were 10 times more likely to rate the status of their teeth and mouth as poor than high-income adults. Regardless of age or income, cost was the top reason respondents said they had not been to a dentist in the prior 12 months.

Among adults eligible for Medicaid, 41 percent reported having difficulty finding a dentist that would accept their insurance.

But the organizations are pointing to their findings about how oral health is linked to social and economic well-being as cause for why policymakers should take up the issue. One in 4 adults surveyed said they avoided smiling because of the condition of their mouth and teeth. Of low-income adults, 29 percent said their mouth and teeth condition affected their ability to interview for a job, while 28 percent of young adults said the same.

“Policy makers now have robust empirical data linking oral health — a long overlooked aspect of health care policy — to physical, social and economic well-being,” Marko Vujicic, chief economist and vice president of the ADA’s Health Policy Institute said in a statement. “These numbers need to be a starting point for a national discussion about improving access to oral health care for adults in America.”


Health Brief: GOP Announces Changes to Health Care Bill

House GOP leaders made tweaks to their Obamacare replacement legislation aimed at bolstering Republican support, but many skeptical conservatives remain opposed to the plan. The changes include giving states more flexibility with their Medicaid programs, phasing out Obamacare taxes sooner and increasing tax credits to help older Americans afford health insurance.

Health Brief: Week in Review & What’s Ahead

Speaker Paul Ryan’s Obamacare replacement plan got a boost Friday when leaders of the Republican Study Committee, the largest caucus in the House GOP, announced their support after the White House agreed to an amendment package that would give states the choice to block grant Medicaid rather than receive a per capita cap, and maintain work requirements for some program enrollees.

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