Sunday, December 5, 2021

Play

A new report shows, despite getting billions under the American Rescue Plan, many airlines continue to disrupt travelers' plans with cancellations, and Congress averts a government shutdown for now.

Play

U.S. House passes a stopgap government funding bill; the Omicron variant is found in Minnesota; Biden administration revives the "Remain in Mexico" policy; and the Bidens light the National Christmas Tree.

Play

Seniors in non-urban areas struggle with hunger disproportionately; rural communities make a push for federal money; and Planned Parenthood takes a case to the Montana Supreme Court.

PA Groups Back Expanding Medicare to 'Treat the Whole Person'

Play

Friday, September 3, 2021   

WILKES-BARRE, Pa. -- Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa, has introduced legislation to expand Medicare coverage to include dental, hearing and vision care.

Backers of the bill in the Commonwealth said adding the services could do a lot to keep older adults healthy.

Senate Bill 2618 would cover routine dental cleaning, eyeglasses, hearing exams and more. In many cases, older adults go without these services, particularly hearing aids, because of the cost.

Joanne Grossi, state president for AARP Pennsylvania, said it is time for Medicare to treat the whole person, head to toe.

"If you can't have a conversation with someone, you're obviously socially isolated; you can't hear the phone ring," Grossi observed. "It leads to increased isolation and depression, which ironically end up costing the health care system more money, and Medicare more money, because they're leading to these detrimental health outcomes."

Grossi spoke this week in Wilkes-Barre at a Special Committee on Aging hearing, which Sen. Casey chairs. Casey said he hopes the legislation is passed when the Senate is back in session as part of the budget reconciliation process. Some pushback is expected from lawmakers who will question the cost.

About 17% of older adults in the United States have lost all their teeth, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Kelly Ranieli, executive director of Volunteers in Medicine, which provides free medical, dental and behavioral health services to people who are uninsured or underinsured in Northeastern Pennsylvania, said some of their older patients need tooth extractions and dentures but often can't afford either.

"Many have extreme difficulty eating solid food, which, you know, many are malnourished," Ranieli explained. "To heal the entire well-being, medical, dental, and behavioral health care needs to be provided. I mean, everyone benefits from a healthy community."

Medicare provides coverage to 2.8 million Pennsylvanians 65 and older or with chronic disabilities.

Disclosure: AARP Pennsylvania contributes to our fund for reporting on Budget Policy & Priorities, Consumer Issues, Livable Wages/Working Families, and Senior Issues. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


get more stories like this via email
Indigenous people in Peru demonstrate against oil drilling in 2013. (Amazon Watch)

Environment

LOS ANGELES -- California-based facilities are refining half of all the oil drilled in the Amazon rain forests, according to a new report by the …


Environment

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- People who live on the Navajo Nation near the San Juan Basin are closely following work by the Environmental Protection Agency (…

Social Issues

PHOENIX -- A new report shows, despite getting billions of dollars from the federal government under the American Rescue Plan, many airlines continue …


From left, Andrea Comer, committee chairwoman, Connecticut Social Equity Council, and Carlton Highsmith, Joseph Carbone and Fred McKinney announce the Alliance for Cannabis Equity on Tuesday in Hamden, Conn. (The Narrative Project)

Social Issues

NEW HAVEN, Conn. -- Connecticut is among several states working on what its new recreational marijuana industry will look like, and a new coalition …

Social Issues

PRAIRIE DU SAC, Wis. -- Broadband gaps affect many facets of life, including education. The new federal infrastructure plan includes money to expand …

Hastings-on-Hudson is currently the highest-ranking town in New York State's Climate Smart Communities program. (Adobe Stock)

Environment

HASTINGS-ON-HUDSON, N.Y. -- One of the major takeaways from last month's big climate conference in Scotland is, all levels of government need to …

Social Issues

ALBANY, N.Y. -- New York State United Teachers (NYSUT) has released a new report this week, with recommendations from educators about how best to …

Social Issues

BALTIMORE, Md. -- Maryland civil rights groups are proposing a lawsuit against Baltimore County if it adopts its current redistricting plan, claiming …

 

Phone: 303.448.9105 Toll Free: 888.891.9416 Fax: 208.247.1830 Your trusted member- and audience-supported news source since 1996 Copyright 2021