Congressman Juan Vargas has submitted a bill to Congress that will ensure that veterans can access restorative dental services. The bill is known as H.R. 5022, or the Enhanced Dental Care for Veterans Act of 2014. The bill will also provide dental education, and start up a pilot program that makes use of community clinics for extensive dental work.
Currently, dental care is not provided to the majority of veterans. Instead, it is only extended to those who are 100% service connected, or who are homeless. Most veterans end up paying for dental care out of pocket, which can be difficult to do on what is often a fixed income.
“Despite the critical nature of dental services as part of overall health care, access to dental care is unfortunately very limited for veterans in our current system,” said Vargas. The bill’s authorization of enhanced dental care services would include dental implants, fillings, and root canal therapy. Fillings are made from composite resin, gold, or silver. The pilot program would enroll many community-based programs into the VA’s health care system that are currently not associated with it.
While the bill would certainly help veterans across the country gain better access to necessary health services, it’s unclear whether it will pass successfully through Congress. A similar bill was introduced last October in the senate, but did not receive the level of support that would have allowed it to move forward.