Shea-Porter Introduces Veterans Dental Coverage Bill
WASHINGTON, DC — Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter (NH-01) today introduced legislation to offer comprehensive dental care to all 9.1 million veterans enrolled in the Department of Veterans Affairs healthcare system.
“Dental health is an essential component of medical health for every American, including veterans,” said Shea-Porter. “Health insurance shouldn’t end at the neck, and neither should the VA’s standard medical benefits package. That’s why today I’m introducing a bill to offer dental care to all veterans.”
Shea-Porter developed the legislation in response to a request made from a constituent at an August town hall meeting in Manchester.
“We know that good oral health is important for our overall medical health, but many people don’t realize that most veterans can’t get dental care at VA medical centers,” said Londonderry veteran Dennis Martin. “Veterans deserve access to dental care, and I thank Congresswoman Shea-Porter for introducing this important legislation.”
Current law limits eligibility for VA dental care to veterans with a service-connected disability rated 100%; veterans with a service-connected dental condition; former prisoners of war; and homeless veterans. Dental care is also available if a dental condition is aggravating a service-connected condition or complicates treatment of that condition.
Shea-Porter’s legislation would eliminate these restrictions on eligibility for VA dental care, allowing all veterans that are enrolled in the VA system to access in-house dental care. The bill phases in the new eligibility over five years to give the VA time invest in and increase its capacity to provide dental care.