On Sunday, Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-NY) said he backs the move to add dental, vision, and hearing coverage to Medicare. He threw his support to a proposal by Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) to add these conditions to the current health insurance for seniors.
Gaping Hole in Medicare
Meanwhile, on Twitter, Schumer posted a message on the shortcomings of the national health insurance program. “There is a gaping hole in Medicare that leaves out dental, vision, and hearing coverage.
This is a serious problem,” Schumer tweeted. “I’m working with @SenSanders to push to include dental, vision, and hearing Medicare coverage in the American Jobs and Families Plans,” he added.
During the Sunday conference, Schumer made the case for expanding Medicare coverage to include dental, vision, and hearing. He noted the “more serious medical problems” a lack of coverage causes.
“If you talk to family medicine or primary care doctors, they will tell you with certainty that ignoring medical issues related to dental, vision, and hearing often devolves into far more serious medical problems for people — especially seniors — that cost more to treat and are harder to remedy,” said Schumer. “With the current Medicare platform, those three things are just left out, like it’s no big deal. But it is a big deal and we should fix it,” he added.
Uphill Legislative Effort
In addition, Schumer said the campaign to expand Medicare will need an “uphill legislative effort” that requires lawmakers to “galvanize support from the public”. He added that there are some people in the Senate who don’t think the problem needs fixing. For him and Sanders, however, “Now is our chance to fix a giant Medicare health care hole for seniors that inevitably costs lives.”
As part of President Joe Biden’s infrastructure plans, Democrats want to expand Medicare. In fact, party negotiators are working to draft a proposal that Republicans will accept.
A bipartisan group of 10 senators earlier this month unveiled an agreement on a “compromise framework” to invest $1.2 trillion in infrastructure over the next eight years, which has gained steam on Capitol Hill.
Sanders Wants To Evade The Filibuster
Sanders, the original proponent, wants to make sweeping changes to Medicare and prescription drug policy. If needed, Sanders wants Democrats to evade the filibuster to make it happen.
Specifically, the independent Vermont senator wants Democrats to force Medicare to enter into negotiations with drug companies. Afterward, they can use the revenue to pay for a huge expansion of the entitlement program.
Sanders, who chairs the Senate Budget Committee, aims to lower Medicare’s eligibility age from 65 to 55 or 60 years old. He also wants to expand the program to cover dental work, glasses and eye surgeries as well as hearing aids.
Meanwhile, there are some Democrats that insist on pushing through with Biden’s original proposal. They want to advance Biden’s $4 billion infrastructure plan through reconciliation. This means it would drop the need for a 60-vote legislative vote needed for passing.
Watch Secular Talk as it discusses Bernie Sander’s Reconciliation Bill, which includes Medicare at 60:
Do you support the addition of dental, vision, and hearing coverage for Medicare? In addition, what do you think of Medicare at this point?
Do let us know what you think. Share your comments in the comments section below.