U.S. Rep. Gus Bilirakis, R-Fla., one of the top Republicans on the U.S. House Veterans Affairs Committee, has brought back a proposal to expand dental care to veterans.
Last week, Bilirakis reintroduced the “Veterans Early Treatment for Chronic Ailment Resurgence through Examinations (VET CARE) Act” which would expand dental care for veterans and create a four year pilot program. Currently, only fully disabled veterans or those with service related injuries get dental benefits through the VA.
Bilirakis weighed in on his proposal on Friday.
“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 health care costs for the VA. Not only is this legislation good for veterans, it’s good for the VA as a whole."
The Florida congressman pointed to studies which show dental care helps reduce healthcare costs and serious medical conditions.
“Since the VA spends most of its healthcare costs on treating veterans with chronic ailments, like diabetes, heart conditions, and more, dental coverage would help ensure a healthier veteran population and bring those costs down,” Bilirakis’ office noted.
Bilirakis, who was the vice chairman of the House Veterans Affairs Committee when the GOP controlled the House, first introduced the proposal back in March 2017.
The bill was sent to the House Veterans Affairs Committee on Thursday. Five members of Congress, including U.S. Rep. Alcee Hastings, D-Fla., and U.S. Rep. Brian Mast, R-Fla., are cosponsoring the bill. So far, there is no version over in the U.S. Senate.