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Baldwin, Capito, Blumenthal Introduce Dental Care for Our Troops Act

Bipartisan legislation would provide all Reserve and National Guard Members access to premium-free dental coverage

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) introduced the Dental Care for Our Troops Act, bipartisan legislation that would ensure that every service member has premium-free dental care.

“Our National Guard and Reserve members make sacrifices every day to keep us safe, and yet too many of them struggle to access health care – and that includes dental care. By providing these benefits, our service members will lead healthier lives, improve their readiness for deployment, and devote more time to valuable training,” said Senator Baldwin. “Providing all service members with the dental coverage they deserve is not only an investment in our national security, it is also the right thing to do.”

The Dental Care for Our Troops Act would waive premiums and co-pays in the TRICARE Dental Program for all members of the reserve components. In addition to guaranteeing dental insurance, this legislation would ensure that all servicemembers are ready to deploy and serve our country when called upon.

Dental health is vital to military readiness, and despite being responsible for their own deployability, reserve component service members must cover their own dental insurance and dental procedures. Cigna Health calculates that adults who practice preventive oral health care can save 31 percent in dental costs over five years. Likewise, adults who don’t receive preventive care can expect a 43 percent increase to their annual dental costs over the same period of time. Letting reserve component servicemembers go without dental insurance presents a readiness and total cost risk.

“Dental care in our National Guard and Reserve is a growing issue, keeping tens of thousands of troops from being able to deploy and serve our country. I have heard firsthand how a lack of access to dental care affects military readiness, and this legislation helps provide the access to care our troops deserve and need,” Senator Capito said. “I am continually impressed by the men and women who serve in the West Virginia National Guard and the broad array of missions they support around the world. Our military relies heavily on the ability of National Guard and Reserve members, and I will continue to put forward solutions that support them.”

“All who serve in our Armed Forces deserve the same high quality dental care—including our National Guard and Reserves,” said Senator Blumenthal. “They should never have to pay out of pocket for dental care afforded to active duty servicemembers. Our legislation closes an egregious health care gap, and invests in military readiness.”

Bipartisan companion legislation was also introduced in the House, led by Representatives Andy Kim (D-NJ-03) and Trent Kelley (R-MS-01).

The Dental Care for Our Troops Act is supported by VoteVets, Reserve Organization of America, National Guard Association of the United States (NGAUS), Naval Enlisted Reserve Association, and the Air Force Sergeants Association.

More information on the Dental Care for Our Troops Act is available here.