We’re beginning to make headway in making a authorities that works for all individuals, not simply the very wealthy. However we nonetheless have a really lengthy option to go.
By now you have heard the large headlines concerning the American bailout plan that Joe Biden signed in March: the $ 1,400 direct funds, the large improve in youngster tax credit, the growth of unemployment advantages, and the manufacturing and distribution of tens of thousands and thousands of doses of vaccine which might be badly wanted to battle this pandemic.
What you might not have heard is that we made main well being care way more accessible by doubling funding for neighborhood well being facilities and tripling funding to convey medical doctors, dentists, and nurses to medically underserved areas. Youngsters who had been caught at residence final yr can now take pleasure in actions this summer time as new funding is allotted to summer time and after-school packages.
These are necessary advances.
However on this time of unprecedented crises, it’s not sufficient. Joe Biden is aware of that, I do know that and you already know that.
The agenda set out by the President in his speech on Wednesday offers Congress a very good roadmap, however we have to go additional if we’re to significantly handle the big financial, social, well being and environmental crises our nation is dealing with.
As chairman of the Senate Finances Committee, I might be actively concerned in drafting a lot of this new piece of laws. There are a variety of crucial areas that we are going to handle, together with our nation’s crumbling infrastructure, the necessity to fight local weather change, and supply childcare to each American household. However for now, I wished to speak to you about an space that I will be significantly specializing in.
It’s outrageous that greater than 50 years after Medicare went into impact, seniors are nonetheless not getting primary listening to, imaginative and prescient, and dental insurance coverage. Many seniors can’t learn the newspaper as a result of they can’t afford glasses, they can’t speak to their grandchildren as a result of they can’t afford listening to aids, and so they have hassle consuming as a result of they can’t afford dentures.
It’s also time to acknowledge that we have to decrease Medicare eligibility for thousands and thousands of older employees in dire want of medical care.
This important second in American historical past is the time for a Democratic President and Congress to do what the American individuals need. We have to develop Medicare advantages and decrease the age of Medicare eligibility. Utilizing our majority for this transfer isn’t solely proper for the American individuals, but additionally good coverage.
These steps appear costly, and they’re. However here is one thing wonderful. We are able to pay your entire price of those Medicare dietary supplements by permitting this system to barter the price of prescribed drugs.
As unbelievable as it could sound, the Medicare program is legally prohibited from negotiating with drug firms about the price of shopping for medication for seniors. The lobbying energy of the large drug firms implies that they’re demolishing the federal government and charging the American individuals no matter value they need. Not solely that. The facility of the pharmaceutical trade forces all Individuals to pay by far the best costs on this planet for prescribed drugs. This absurdity has to cease.
Negotiating drug costs is what each different nice nation on earth does. The veterans administration does it. Solely Medicare is prohibited from taking this apparent step.
What we’re combating now’s the definition of a win-win-win scenario. Seniors pay decrease costs for prescribed drugs and obtain listening to, visible, and dental care. Thousands and thousands extra Individuals can be a part of the Medicare program. And we’re decreasing the price of prescribed drugs for all Individuals.
It’s nearly loopy to assume that we should battle for these wise insurance policies, that are overwhelmingly supported by the American individuals. It’s no shock, nonetheless, that the pharmaceutical trade will use all its may in Washington DC to stop it from taking place. From 1999 to 2018, pharmaceutical firms spent $ 4.7 billion lobbying the federal authorities. That is $ 233 million a yr. That is on prime of greater than $ 400 million in marketing campaign contributions for federal candidates and committees and $ 900 million for state candidates and committees.
The pharmaceutical trade, probably the most highly effective foyer in Washington, believes its wealth and energy can stop Congress and the president from taking motion to develop Medicare and decrease prescription drug costs. Nicely I disagree. I imagine if all of us get a listening to within the days and weeks forward, we are able to present how highly effective the American individuals might be if we stand collectively and battle again. We is not going to let drug trade greed stand in the best way of Individuals getting medical care and prescribed drugs at cheap costs.
As a nation, we at the moment are making some actual strides in defending the pursuits of the working class. Not surprisingly, the institution and defenders of the established order are resisting. However at this important second, if we now have the braveness to teach, arrange and transfer ahead, we’ll win this battle. In the end, a robust grassroots motion of thousands and thousands of Individuals combating for justice can and can defeat the ability of organized cash.