Democratic senators push Biden to include health care in U.S. family plan


In a letter obtained by CNN, 17 senators specifically ask Biden to lower the age of Medicare eligibility, expand Medicare benefits to include hearing, dental and vision care, put a cap on personal expenses under traditional Medicare and to authorize the program to negotiate lower prices for drugs.

Biden’s plan is expected to include proposals related to education, child care and climate change. What remains an open question is what plans the administration has to include healthcare in the package.

Health care could be a risky bargaining point with some Democrats in Congress hoping to expand Medicaid and Medicare while others seek changes to the Affordable Care Act. There could also be a struggle to reign over prescription drug costs, a goal Democrats share but have different views on how to get there.

All of this could cause the White House not to add another complicated policy to an already overburdened package and instead try to take a shot at health care later in the year.

But those 17 Democrats want Biden to take that step now.

“Medicare has been one of the most successful and popular federal programs in our country’s history since it was enacted by President Lyndon Johnson in 1965. Today, 55 years older late, it is high time for us to expand and improve this program so that millions of older Americans can receive the health care they need, including glasses, hearing aids and dental care. “, indicates the letter.

The letter is edited by Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, Debbie Stabenow of Michigan, and Ben Cardin of Maryland. He enjoys a wide range of Democratic backing from progressives like Sanders and Warren, as well as leadership Democrats like Stabenow and Senator Dick Durbin of Illinois. Sense. Cory Booker from New Jersey and Kirsten Gillibrand from New York are also signatories.

While the White House has teased chunks of the plan, officials insist it is still a work in progress and some aspects of it could be dropped or added before it is officially released. Details are expected to be released ahead of Biden’s speech at a joint congressional session on Wednesday to mark his first 100 days in office. Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris and members of his cabinet are expected to hit the road to sell the plan immediately after.

The White House declined to say whether health care would be part of this particular proposal, but press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters on Friday that expanding access to health care and making it more affordable remains a priority. for Biden and his administration.

“Even as he makes these decisions, the US plan for families and his speech on Wednesday will not represent the totality of every priority item for him and every item on his agenda that he wants to move forward as president. “said Psaki.

But Democratic senators – nervous about their party’s tight margins in the House and Senate – believe Biden must act quickly to enact meaningful changes and that these changes in health care are urgent.

“We have a historic opportunity to achieve the most significant expansion in Medicare since it was proclaimed,” the letter read. “We look forward to working with you to make this a reality and, in so doing, dramatically improve the lives of millions of older Americans and people with disabilities.”


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