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: Week in Review & What’s Ahead

The Senate GOP’s working group on health care is still discussing how to craft a bill to replace the Affordable Care Act, but lawmakers are also focused on a short-term fix to stabilize the individual insurance markets next year. The fix needs to come before June 21, insurers’ deadline for deciding whether to participate in the exchanges for 2018.

Health Brief: House May Need to Vote on AHCA Again

There is a chance that House Republicans will have to vote again on their health care bill, which was barely passed by the chamber earlier this month. Speaker Paul Ryan has not yet sent the bill to the Senate because parts of it may have to be redone, depending on how the Congressional Budget Office estimates its effects.

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