Medicare Turns 56: Democrats Look to Strengthen Program, While Senate Republicans Eye Cuts
On the 56th anniversary of Medicare being signed into law, President Biden and Democrats in Congress are considering proposals that would shore up and expand Medicare and its benefits, while Senate Republicans once again float deep cuts to the program in order to preserve tax loopholes for their richest corporate backers.
- Democrats are pushing reforms that would strengthen Medicare’s benefits and empower the program to deliver lower prescription drug prices. Biden and congressional Democrats’ Build Back Better Agenda would:
- Expand Medicare’s health care offering for retirees by adding dental, vision, and hearing coverage to Medicare.
- Hold Big Pharma accountable by giving Medicare the authority to negotiate down the price of the most-expensive drugs, which estimates say would deliver cost savings and reduce overall “spending by about $456 billion.”
- Republicans in the Senate are once again talking about pursuing cuts to programs like Medicare and Social Security. Meanwhile, Republicans are once again floating cuts to the program:
- Just last week, “Republican Senator Lindsey Graham said […] he could back an increase in the federal debt limit if it were tied to setting up a commission charged with bolstering the financial stability of Social Security and Medicare programs and other reforms he plans to unveil next week.”
- And along similar lines, “[Sen. John] Cornyn said Democrats needed to address ‘long-term insolvency of things like our entitlement programs,’ a category of spending that includes Medicare and Social Security.”
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