The American Dental Association is supporting the Dental Care for Our Troops Act.
The legislation is part of the Healthcare for Our Troops Act and would provide premium-free TRICARE dental coverage to reserve component service members.
In a July 7 letter to Rep. Andy Kim, D-N.J., ADA President Cesar R. Sabates, D.D.S., and Executive Director Raymond A. Cohlmia, D.D.S., thanked the representative for introducing the bill. The letter also urged lawmakers to include the Dental Care for Our Troops Act in the 2023 National Defense Authorization Act, noting that roughly 130,000 reservists and members of the National Guard do not have any form of health insurance or dental coverage.
"Because service members are required to meet dental and medical deploy ability requirements, the lack of insurance coverage among guardsmen and reservists presents a major challenge to the reserve component's readiness for deployment," Drs. Sabates and Cohlmia wrote. "Providing access to TRICARE dental coverage at no cost to these service members and their families who currently have inconsistent dental coverage would not only help ensure the oral health of our service members, it would also assist national security by making sure the service members are able to deploy."
They also noted that providing dental coverage would take the burden of providing dental insurance coverage off employers, thus incentivizing the hiring and retention of guardsmen and reservists.
"Many dentists serve in the National Guard and Reserves and would benefit from this hiring and retention incentive," Drs. Sabates and Cohlmia wrote. "Additionally, many dentists are small business owners, and this bill would help facilitate their hiring and retention of guardsmen and reservists."
"The ADA applauds your leadership on this issue and stands ready to work with you to improve access to oral health care for members of the reserves and the National Guard," the letter concluded.
Follow all the ADA's advocacy efforts and ADA.org/advocacy.