Washington, DC — Today, under the leadership of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, House Democrats passed a $3.5 trillion proposed FY2022 Budget Resolution framework that will make historic investments in American health care. Previously passed by the Senate, the proposal lowers the cost of prescription drugs, expands Medicare benefits to include dental, vision, and hearing, closes the Medicaid coverage gap, and extends the premium reductions under the American Rescue Plan so millions of people can continue to afford their coverage. In response, Protect Our Care Chair Leslie Dach issued the following statement:

“House Democrats just passed a historic budget resolution that will transform the lives of millions of Americans. We are now one step closer to finally lowering the cost of prescription drugs, closing the Medicaid coverage gap, expanding Medicare benefits to include dental, vision, and hearing and further reducing health care premiums for millions of Americans. 

“Reducing costs and expanding benefits and coverage has never been more urgent as we continue to battle this devastating pandemic, and we commend Speaker Pelosi’s  leadership in swiftly taking action to ensure these historic health provisions are passed this fall. In contrast, every Republican member put politics over people’s health by voting no and ignoring the wishes of the vast majority of voters. Today’s vote is another reminder that President Biden and Democrats in Congress are laser-focused on delivering lower cost, better health care for the American people.”

BY THE NUMBERS:

PRESCRIPTION DRUGS

The Majority Of American Adults Take Prescription Drugs. 53 percent of American adults, or roughly 130 million people, take prescription drugs in the U.S. and stand to benefit from legislation to lower drug prices. 

Giving Medicare The Power To Negotiate Would Save Patients And Taxpayers Billions. Empowering Medicare to negotiate for lower prescription drug prices for all Americans would save patients more than $150 billion and create $500 billion in savings for the federal government that could be reinvested to strengthen health care.

EXPANDING MEDICARE BENEFITS

Millions Of Seniors And People With Disabilities Are Struggling With Dental Problems, Poor Vision, And Hearing Loss Due To Cost. Nearly 38 million traditional Medicare enrollees would gain dental, vision, and hearing coverage. Between 47 and 64 percent of Medicare beneficiaries do not have dental coverage, 74 percent lack vision coverage, and 76 percent go without hearing coverage.

Medicare Has No Out-of-pocket Limit For Prescription Drugs. Individuals on Medicare are the only insured Americans to have no cap for out-of-pocket medication costs. In 2019, average out-of-pocket costs for specialty medications surpassed $8,000, while 50 percent of Medicare recipients had incomes under $29,650.

REDUCING HEALTH INSURANCE PREMIUMS 

President Biden’s American Rescue Plan saved Americans thousands on their health care, and Democrats are working to make these changes permanent. Thanks to the American Rescue Plan, four out of five current Marketplace consumers can find a plan on the ACA marketplaces for less than $10 per month. If these subsidies were made permanent, 4.2 million uninsured people would gain coverage and millions more would continue to save on health care costs. 

CLOSING THE MEDICAID COVERAGE GAP

Millions Would Gain Access To Quality, Affordable Insurance Under Medicaid Expansion. Providing health care for working families, older adults, and people with disabilities by closing the Medicaid coverage gap would mean that more than 2 million uninsured people would get access to quality insurance at little or no cost. 

Closing The Coverage Gap Is The Single Most Important Step To Reduce Racial Disparities In Health Coverage. People of color are more likely to have a lower median income and live in a state without Medicaid expansion, compared with their white counterparts. People of color make up nearly 60 percent of the people who could gain coverage in the remaining non-expansion states.