With eight in 10 voters favoring dental care coverage under Medicare, support is even higher in 2022 Senate battleground states.

According to a new YouGov survey, Americans on both sides of the political aisle are ready for Medicare dental coverage. The survey found an overwhelming majority of likely midterm voters —including 82% of voters in 2022 Senate battleground states — are in favor of including dental benefits under Medicare. 

In fact, more than three-quarters of American voters surveyed earlier this month, support the dental coverage to Medicare that was proposed in the $3.5 trillion budget plan introduced in the Senate. Nine out of 10 respondents believe dental care is a necessary part of overall health care and 55% hold their members of Congress responsible for the current lack of coverage.  

“These results make it clear to Congress—their constituents overwhelmingly support adding dental coverage to Medicare,” said Frederick Isasi, executive director of Families USA. “Our health should not depend on our wealth, yet the health of one out of every two people who rely on Medicare suffers because they can’t afford to get the oral health care they need. The time for Medicare to provide oral health care benefits is long overdue. It’s time for Congress to act.” 

The survey shows that of the 60 million older adults and individuals living with disabilities and receive Medicare benefits, 67% of them (approximately 37 million) do not have dental coverage. Low-income adults and people of color are overrepresented in this group. Poor oral health is linked with cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer, and pneumonia, the risk of which increases among older adults.  

Ifetayo Johnson, executive director of the Oral Health Progress and Equity Network (OPEN) added, “Millions of older adults and people with disabilities in this country pay into Medicare their whole working lives and yet it completely leaves out the mouth. It’s no surprise eight out of 10 voters want to see this problem fixed, especially when it has such critical implications for advancing health equity.” 

The report also found that 52% of respondents ages 65 or older had admitted to avoiding necessary dental visits due to cost. Emergency dental visits for preventable oral health conditions cost the United States health system an estimated $2 billion per year.