WASHINGTON, DC – March 10, 2022 – The Democrat-sponsored Build Back Better Act includes many provisions that improve access to healthcare and reduce the cost of medical care for millions of people. The original bill included a larger array of benefits, but after having been introduced first in the House, many had been removed in order to reduce the cost to the federal government. The bill essentially passed along party-lines in the House on November 19, 2021, but has not shown the required unanimous Democratic party support in the Senate that would be required for passage as the Senate is split equally in party affiliation. At present, the bill has not been introduced to the Senate for consideration because it would likely fail passage due to the publicly-voiced opposition by every Republican senator and 2 Democratic senators. In an interview with NBC News on February 2, 2022, West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin said, ”Take care of the debt. $30 trillion should scare the bejesus out of your generation.” His big objective to the bill is that it will add significantly to the largest national debt of all time. It is difficult to determine whether the opposition to the Bill is a statement against the healthcare provisions or its accompanying provisions of taxation, climate impact mitigation, or affordable housing.
The remaining health-related recommendations of the Build Back Better Bill are: expanded premium tax credits for the Affordable Care Act Marketplace plans which expire in December 2022 (effects 9 million people), for Medicaid expansion in non-expansion states (helps 4 million people), extending post-partum care in Medicaid to 12 months (currently 3 months), capping insulin prices at $35 (to provide financial assistance to people with chronic diabetes illness), expanding Medicare benefits to cover the cost of hearing aids for the at-risk senior population, and reducing the price of prescription medicine through drug price negotiation in behalf of Medicare beneficiaries (consistent to the drug negotiation policy in behalf of U.S. veterans covered by the Veterans Health Administration).
The COVID-19 pandemic and the Russian Ukrainian crisis are considered more important priorities in Congress so the Build Back Better Act has been stalled. A Morning Consult/Politico poll conducted in December, 2021, indicates that most registered voters feel that the cost of prescription medicine is too high, that working Americans should be able to obtain affordable health insurance, and that Medicaid eligibility should be expanded to more working people in all 50 states. While most Americans favor many of the individual healthcare provisions of the Bill, only 47% support the bill while 40% oppose it.
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Contact: Dick Needleman, Health reporter, 103.3 AshevilleFM, firstname.lastname@example.org