The Coalition of Veterans Organizations is trying to get dental care for veterans, because relatively few are able to get this care through the VA. In other words, many veterans are not eligible for VA healthcare, but among those who are, only a fraction are eligible for dental care. Far too many veterans walk around with rotted teeth and other obvious signs of a lack of dental care.
The VA has arranged for dental insurance that veterans may purchase, but it isn’t cheap. Veterans end up paying for what the VA should be providing in the first place.
Vets who are ineligible for VA healthcare and are under the age of 65 can get a good health insurance package at a good price through the State, and this includes dental care, since this type of care is an essential part of healthcare.
In other words, if an Illinois veteran can not get VA healthcare, then he can purchase a comprehensive healthcare plan that includes dental care, but for those who are covered by VA healthcare, except for dental care, they must pay for this care either through a separate dental plan or out of pocket.
An important part of dental care is the examination for oral cancer (which is what ultimately killed my father and other veterans), where early detection can mean the difference between life and death.
If you go to Dixon Mounds, you will learn that the reason these indigenous peoples had such a low life expectancy was that they died of infections due to their lack of dental care.
There is now proposed legislation in the IL General Assembly, HB1803 and SB622, that would give us dental care.
Larry E. Nazimek
CVO Vice-Chair and Chair of Veterans Affairs Comm.