US Representative Gus Bilirakis of Florida’s Twelfth District has reintroduced his Veterans Early Treatment for Chronic Ailment Resurgence through Examinations (VET CARE) Act, which would require the Veterans Administration (VA) to enact a four-year pilot program for providing dental care to veterans with certain chronic health conditions. Currently, VA dental care is limited to those who are 100% disabled or have an injury directly connected to service.
“Our veterans have sacrificed so much on behalf of our country. They deserve access to high-quality healthcare, and that includes dental care,” said Bilirakis. “The VET CARE Act will get the ball rolling to expand access to dental care for our nation’s heroes and could result in lower overall healthcare costs for the VA. Not only is this legislation good for veterans, it’s good for the VA as a whole.”
Studies have shown that regular dental care helps alleviate certain chronic conditions, reducing overall healthcare costs, according to Bilirakis’ office. Since the VA spends most of its healthcare costs on treating veterans with chronic ailments like diabetes and heart disease, the office adds, dental coverage would help ensure a healthier veteran population and bring those costs down.
The bill has been referred to the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs and to the committee’s Subcommittee on Health.