On Sunday, Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont), said that he was still fighting to include his plan for Medicare expansion and allowing the program to negotiate drug pricing into the Build back Better Act.
“I spent all of yesterday on the telephone,” Sanders said on CNNThis refers to conversations about prescription drug prices. “Look, we are paying the highest prices in the world for prescription drugs. To ensure that Americans pay 10x more for certain drugs than Canadians and Mexicans, the pharmaceutical industry has spent hundreds upon hundreds of millions. That fight continues.”
Sanders also stated that he is still trying to get Medicare to cover hearing, vision, and dental. “The fight to expand Medicare — look, poll after poll shows the American people understand that it’s not acceptable that elderly people have teeth in their mouth that are rotting, they can’t digest their food, they don’t have the vision that they need in order to read the newspaper,” he said. “So we are continuing that effort.”
When asked if he would like to add these provisions before a possible House vote on the bill, he replied that he did. this week, Sanders responded: “Absolutely.” This echoes previous statements the senator has made on the proposals, despite Democratic leaders appearing to abandon the ideas.
“The expansion of Medicare to cover dental, hearing and vision is one of the most popular and important provisions in the entire reconciliation bill. It’s what the American people want. It’s not coming out,” Sanders wrote on Twitter last week.
These proposals have been a point-of-controvery for the pharmaceutical lobby as well as conservative Democrats who are aligned in the industry. The White House has released the latest draft of the bill. Half of the price tag was cut haphazardlyTo $1.75 Trillion over ten Years didn’t includeThe prescription drug proposal and only suggested adding hearingMedicare benefits
Sen. Kyrsten Silena (D-Arizona), has been fighting againstHer drug pricing proposal was a result of hundreds of thousands in funding from the pharmaceutical industry during her career. She and Sen. Joe Manchin, (D-West Virginia). are opposed to the Medicare expansion planThey are responsible for the inclusion of vision and/or dental in the latest draft.
As Sanders has emphasized, despite the conservative Democrats’ opposition, the two Medicare proposals are tremendously popular among the public. A poll October foundOver 2,000 adults were surveyed and 88 percent supported lowering drug prices. 84 percent support expanding Medicare.
Sanders also noted that drug prices in the U.S. are excessively high. A U.S. Government Accountability Office report was released earlier this year. This is what we foundSome drugs that the agency examined cost 10 times more in the U.S.than they did in other countries. A recent analysis has shown that the cost of some drugs in the U.S. is up to 10 times higher than other countries. This is what we foundThe profits of U.S. sales are more than any other country combined.
Though Sanders wouldn’t say whether or not he is in support of the reconciliation framework as it is, he said that he would continue working to improve the bill. “I worked yesterday, we’re working today, we’re going to work tomorrow, to strengthen that bill,” he said, pointing out the cruelty of Americans not being able to afford vital and often life-saving drugs they are prescribed.
A 2019 pollA quarter of Americans who take prescription drugs regularly said it was difficult for them to afford. Another poll by the same year found that 13 percent of Americans say they know someone who died because they couldn’t afford medical treatment, including prescription drugs — a percentage that represents millions of Americans, if the data is reflective of the population at large.