WASHINGTON — Congressional Democrats are still fine-tuning President Joe Biden's now- $1.85 trillion plan to boost social and education programs as well as protect against global warming. The new goal is to complete the work before Thanksgiving.
Democrats are scaling back some investments and shortening the timeframe for funding to whittle down spending. Some proposals have been dropped entirely. The framework fits an approximately $1.85 trillion budget over 10 years, rather than the $3.5 trillion budget plan originally envisioned.
The House is working to pass the legislation soon, but it will still have to clear the Senate, where revisions are likely. But in the meantime, millions of people receiving Medicare and Medicaid want to know what's staying in the plan.
What's still in the bill for Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries?
Here's what Medicare proposals remain in the package as of Thursday night, based on summaries provided by the White House and the House.
- Medicare would be expanded to cover hearing aids, costing an estimated $35 billion over 10 years.
- $150 billion for a Medicaid program that supports home health care, helping to clear a backlog and improving working conditions.
- Cap out-of-pocket Medicare Part D costs for older Americans at $2,000 and reduce the price of insulin to no more than $35 a dose.
- Establish a Medicare drug negotiation program. Each year, the secretary of Health and Human Services would identify 100 brand-name drugs that lack price competition and from that list negotiate the price of up to 10 drugs in 2025, 15 in 2026 and 2027, and 20 thereafter. Insulin products must also be negotiated. A drug selected for negotiation would continue to be included in the program until competition enters the market.
What other health care proposals are still in the bill?
- Expanded tax credits for insurance premiums tied to the Affordable Care Act would be extended through 2025. The White House says that would help 3 million uninsured people gain coverage.
- $90 billion for investments that would include funding maternal health, community violence initiatives, disadvantaged farmers, nutrition and pandemic preparation.
Paid family and medical leave
- Eligible workers would receive up to four weeks of paid leave to reimburse them for time taken to care for a new child, or other family members or recover from illness. Biden had initially proposed 12 weeks of paid family leave.
What's out of the bill?
A proposal to expand Medicare to cover dental and vision care is out because of concerns about the cost. Currently, Medicare doesn't cover most dental care, procedures, or supplies.
According to Medicare.gov, some Medicare Advantage Plans (Part C) offer extra benefits that the original program doesn’t cover, like dental, vision and hearing. Advantage Plans are offered by Medicare-approved private companies.