Prioritizing Lives And Democracy Over The Filibuster. Steve Williamson and Karen McClelland welcome back Max Richtman, President of the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare, to discuss the pending Human Infrastructure bill which is at the heart of President Biden’s agenda. As you likely already know, Democrats will try to pass the bill through a reconciliation process in order to avoid a filibuster. Yet Senators Kyrsten Sinema and Joe Manchin have announced they do not support the bill. As a result, the bill could die in the Senate. And, by opposing any changes to the filibuster, the two Democrats also threaten the proposed voting rights bill.
Nevertheless, Richtman is hopeful. He recently wrote a letter to Sinema in support of the two bills and co-authored an editorial in the Tucson Sentinel in hopes of influencing her. He explains that Sinema has reservations about the cost of the reconciliation bill. Yet the bill will be paid for, in large part, by raising taxes on the very wealthy and large corporation. Moreover, according to Richtman, by enabling the federal government to negotiate prescription drug prices for Medicare and Medicaid, the bill would save about $500 billion over 10 years.
Richtman notes that the bill could also improve the lives of seniors by providing enough funding to expand Medicare to cover dental, hearing and vision. It would also increase the number of people who provide home care for seniors by increasing their salaries and benefits. Richtman believes that would save money in the long run, because it’s much cheaper to keep people in their homes.