Seven out of 10 U.S. voters support adding dental benefits to Medicare, according to poll data released on August 26. The majority of likely voters from every age group, race, gender, and political party supported the idea.
Nonprofit healthcare advocacy organization Families USA and opinion company YouGov teamed up to survey 1,000 likely voters about dental benefits and healthcare ahead of the 2020 U.S. presidential election. The support for dental benefits was overwhelming.
"People are really concerned about oral health," stated Patrick Willard, senior director of state and national strategic partnerships at Families USA, in a press release. "It's a nonpartisan issue that people support regardless of political party."
Seven out of 10 respondents favored adding dental benefits to Medicare, including 54% of Republican voters and 87% of Democrat voters. Only 8% of likely voters opposed adding dental coverage to Medicare, and 22% had no opinion.
In addition, 80% of respondents believed access to healthcare should include dental care, including two-thirds of Republican voters and 91% of Democrat voters. The same percentage of Democratic respondents agreed that dental benefits should be included in any healthcare system.
Out of the survey respondents, 34% did not have any dental insurance coverage, including half of those with Medicare. Another one-third had dental insurance through an employer, and 11% had Medicaid dental benefits.
The survey also found support for dental coverage could sway likely Democrat voters. Almost two-thirds of voters said they would be more likely to support a candidate who has pledged to add dental benefits to Medicare, which does not include current frontrunner former U.S. Vice President Joe Biden.
"They know their oral health is critical to their overall health, and it's like the government is saying, 'We don't think you have teeth,' " Willard stated. "Well, most Americans now keep their teeth well into old age, and they need access to dental coverage in order to take care of them."