Sanders shut down on Medicare expansion
Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) on Monday shut down one of Senate Budget Committee Chairman Bernie Sanders’s (I-Vt.) biggest priorities, expanding Medicare, which Manchin warned would undermine the solvency of the broader program.
Sanders insisted in a tweet Saturday that his proposal to expand Medicare to cover dental, hearing and vision must be included in a budget reconciliation package that is likely to come in well below the $3.5 trillion price tag Democratic leaders initially envisioned.
But Manchin on Monday threw cold water on Sanders’s push to expand Medicare, warning the program faces insolvency in 2026.
“My big concern right now is the 2026 deadline [for] Medicare insolvency and if no one’s concerned about that, I’ve got people — that’s a lifeline. Medicare and Social Security is a lifeline for people back in West Virginia, most people around the country,” Manchin warned.
“You’ve got to stabilize that first before you look at basically expansion. So if we’re not being fiscally responsible, that’s a concern,” he added.
Every vote counts: That’s going to cause a problem with Sanders, whose vote is also essential to getting the budget reconciliation bill passed through the 50-50 Senate.
“The expansion of Medicare to cover dental, hearing and vision is one of the most popular and important provisions in the entire reconciliation bill. It’s what the American people want. It’s not coming out,” Sanders tweeted over the weekend.