Senator Bernie Sanders has introduced legislation that he says is designed to deal with a growing dental care crisis in this country.
As the chairman of the Senate Subcommittee on Primary Health, Sanders says as many as 130 million Americans lack any type of dental insurance.
His legislation would provide dental benefits to everyone covered by Medicare, Medicaid, and the Veterans Administration.
Sanders says the plan would cost $25 billion each year and would be financed by imposing a small surcharge on large stock transactions.
He says it’s critical to address the issue before it gets worse.
"It means that millions and millions of children, older people if you’re on Medicare, truthfully Medicare does not cover dental needs, so you add all that up and I think it is a dental crisis which we really do not talk enough about," says Sanders, who wants to increase access to dental care by expanding the role of federal community health care centers around the country.
He says six centers in Vermont currently offer those services to roughly 25,000 people.
Sanders says his bill also addresses a shortage of dentists in many parts of the country by legislation providing emergency funds for the National Health Service Corps to encourage more young people to become dentists.