Democratic lawmakers move to increase Medicare coverage, expand participant eligibility
Last Friday, over 100 Democrats on Capitol Hill joined forces to introduce legislation that lowers the Medicare eligibility age to 60. The current eligibility threshold is 65 years of age.
At least 125 Democrats from all caucuses in the House co-sponsored the legislation, which would shave five years off the current age threshold for Medicare. If approved, an additional 23 million Americans would be covered under Medicare.
The legislation comes as lawmakers work to expand Medicare coverage through a multi-trillion-dollar spending proposal. According to CNN, lawmakers are hoping this latest piece of legislation will survive to be included in the final version of the reconciliation budget package.
Congressional democrats may also use the voting show of force to pass coverage expansion through Medicare, adding hearing, dental and vision care to the program for the first time.
“Expanding and improving this wildly popular program is not only the right thing to do from a policy perspective, it is also what the majority of Americans across party lines support,” the legislation’s co-lead sponsor, Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA), told CNN.
Voting on the bill by House and Senate Democrats remains to be seen after Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) potentially derailed top Congress officials' reported plan to pass both the Senate-passed infrastructure package and the reconciliation packag that would include this latest legislation.
Manchin reportedly told the Progressive and Senate Budget Committee Chairman Sanders “hell no” when the $3.5 trillion price tag was revealed.
Progressive members of the party have vowed to tank the legislation if the reconciliation package isn’t voted on at the same time.
“No infrastructure bill without the $3.5 trillion reconciliation bill,” Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) said.