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Statement on Ways and Means Committee Vote on Budget Package

09/10/2021

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 10, 2021
Contact: Kenny Palmer | press@indivisible.org

Washington, DC — Today, Mary Small, National Advocacy Director for Indivisible, issued the following statement: 

“We were initially excited that Democrats on the Ways and Means Committee intended to incorporate many progressive priorities in its portion of the House Budget Reconciliation package. The inclusion of paid family and medical leave, home health, and a much needed expansion of Medicare benefits are crucial to creating a full care economy and a fair recovery. That's why it is extremely disappointing to see Chairmen Neal pass a bill today that does not meet the urgency and need of today. 

“The Chairman chose to weaken the proposal to expand Medicare benefits and coverage to millions of uninsured and underinsured older adults. The legislation includes an unacceptably slow phase-in for the dental benefit, where folks won’t be able to get the care they need until 2028. Additionally, the proposed cost-sharing to actually use the benefit is overwhelmingly high and completely unaffordable for the same low-income folks who already can’t afford essential dental, vision, and hearing services. The bill also leaves out the 23 million older adults who would gain healthcare coverage through lowering the Medicare eligibility age to at least 60 years of age. 

“Unfortunately, the Energy and Commerce Committee also has decided to include these provisions in their proposed legislation. If leadership is seriously trying to get people the healthcare they need, they wouldn’t create a program that only wealthier individuals can afford to use. Instead, they would swiftly phase-in, comprehensive hearing, vision, and dental benefits with no cost-sharing or high out-of-pocket costs. 

“We know that low-income older workers of color ages 50-65 are unjustly shouldering the impact of the public health and economic crises. Now is not the time to turn our back on this community. House Democrats have an opportunity to guarantee health care coverage to those folks by lowering the Medicare eligibility age and they have chosen not to take it. They should reverse course, and quickly.

“Democrats have a once in a generation opportunity to finally invest in the communities who have built this country. We can afford to fund all of our priorities at the levels necessary to ensure an inclusive recovery for all people.

“We need Leadership to have the political courage to stand up to their corporate backers by ensuring that the ultra-wealthy and large corporations pay their fair share, and by not caving to Big Pharma’s push to weaken the drug pricing reforms. With these revenues in place, we can expand Medicare benefits, lower the eligibility age, and ensure that high cost sharing doesn’t prevent access for low wage seniors, all while giving Democrats a winning legislative track record headed into next year.”

 

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ABOUT THE INDIVISIBLE PROJECT

The Indivisible Project (501c4) is a social movement non-profit driven by a vision of a real democracy - of, by, and for the people. Indivisible began in 2016 as a viral guide to resisting Trump’s agenda. Today, the Indivisible movement is a network of thousands of local groups and millions of activists across every state. The Indivisible Project drives campaigns for bold progressive policies, lobbies Congress, and equips activists with tools to build lasting progressive power, everywhere. Together, we fight to defeat the rightwing takeover of American government and build an inclusive democracy.