On October 12, 2021, in an interview with The Hill, Sen. Bernie Sanders said that the adding of the dental, hearing, and vision benefits to Medicare in the social spending package are not negotiable and has stated that this is what American people want.
However, on Thursday during a CNN town hall, President Biden called the inclusion of Medicare expansion to the spending bill a “reach” due to the opposition of two moderate Democratic Senators Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema. Biden has explained that Manchin opposed the expansion of Medicare because the Senator does not want to further burden Medicare.
Staying In The Human Infrastructure Bill
Despite the doubts from President Biden, Sen. Sanders says that the Medicare expansion that includes dental, hearing, and vision coverage is staying in the human infrastructure bill.
A reconciliation process means that a total unity from all 50 Senate Democrats is needed to pass a bill. Both Sen. Manchin and Sen. Sinema hold a significant influence in a 50-50 Senate.
Manchin has balked at the original $3.5 trillion price tag, which may wind up at the $1.9 trillion to $2.2 trillion range.
Furthermore, Sen. Bernie Sanders tweeted a post on Saturday that— the expansion of Medicare is one of the most popular and important provisions in the entire reconciliation bill and it is what the people of America wanted however, it is not coming out.
According to a published article in POLITICO, while high-level talks on the $1 trillion-plus package are ongoing, lawmakers, staffers, advocates, and lobbyists say a plan to expand Medicare with dental, vision, and hearing benefits for tens of millions of seniors as well as a pitch to guarantee paid family and medical leave to all U.S. workers are now in jeopardy.
The Hill also reported that Sanders has grown frustrated with Sinema over her opposition to essential proposals in the bill. Sinema opposed raising corporate tax rates and empowering Medicare to negotiate for lower drug prices.
According to Newsweek, it is still unclear what will be and would not be on the bill’s final version as moderates and progressives are still in disagreement over the package’s scope, size, and priorities. The human spending bill includes funding of climate changes, expansion of public housing, and health care.