WASHINGTON (thehill): Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) on Sunday threw his support behind a push, led by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), to add dental, vision and hearing coverage to Medicare.
“There is a gaping hole in Medicare that leaves out dental, vision, and hearing coverage. This is a serious problem,” Schumer wrote on Twitter.
“I’m working with @SenSanders to push to include dental, vision, and hearing Medicare coverage in the American Jobs and Families Plans,” he added.
Schumer, during a news conference on Sunday, made the case for expanding Medicare coverage to include dental, vision and hearing, noting the “more serious medical problems” a lack of coverage causes.
“If you talk to family medicine or primary care doctors, they will tell you with certainty that ignoring medical issues related to dental, vision and hearing often devolves into far more serious medical problems for people — especially seniors — that cost more to treat and are harder to remedy,” Schumer said, according to the New York Daily News.
“With the current Medicare platform, those three things are just left out, like it’s no big deal. But it is a big deal and we should fix it,” he added.
Schumer said the campaign to expand Medicare will be an “uphill legislative effort,” adding that lawmakers will have to “galvanize support from the public.”
“This is absolutely an uphill legislative effort because there are some in the Senate who really don’t think this is a problem worth fixing, and so we have to galvanize support from the public,” Schumer said, according to the New York Daily News.
“Now is our chance to fix a giant Medicare health care hole for seniors that inevitably costs lives,” he added.
Democrats are attempting to expand Medicare as a part of President Biden’s infrastructure plans as negotiators work to build a proposal that is acceptable to both parties.
A bipartisan group of 10 senators earlier this month unveiled an agreement on a “compromise framework” to invest $1.2 trillion in infrastructure over the next eight years, which has gained steam on Capitol Hill.
Some Democrats, however, are still pushing for Biden’s sweeping infrastructure proposal to be passed through reconciliation, which would nix the 60 vote legislative hurdle needed to approve the wide-ranging reforms.