September 09, 2021
House Democrats Unveil Proposal to Expand Medicare Benefits
This week, Chairman Richard Neal (D-MA) of the House Ways and Means Committee unveiled key provisions of the $3.5 trillion legislative proposal enacting many of President Biden’s economic priorities. According to the proposal, Medicare would be expanded to include new vision and hearing benefits beginning in 2022 and 2023 respectively, with new dental benefits to begin in 2028. The cost of the new benefits are calculated at over $350 billion.
ASA is carefully tracking the efforts of some members of the House Democratic Caucus to push for the inclusion of a legislative package to expand Medicare eligibility to individuals aged 60. However, at this time, most Democrats remain focused on advancing the new vision, hearing and dental benefit. ASA has communicated its strong opposition to the expansion of flawed Medicare payment rates, which have long undervalued anesthesia services.
The Committee is scheduled to vote on the proposal later this week, and the House plans to vote on the overall $3.5 trillion package later this month.
ASA will continue to monitor this issue and provide input to Congress as policymakers consider plans to increase access to affordable healthcare.
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