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House Democrats call on Biden to add Medicare-related provisions to economic plan

House Democrats call on Biden to add Medicare-related provisions to economic plan
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Four House Democrats organized a letter calling on President BidenJoe BidenBiden says Beau's assessment of first 100 days would be 'Be who you are' Biden: McCarthy's support of Cheney ouster is 'above my pay grade' Conservative group sues over prioritization of women, minorities for restaurant aid MORE and Vice President Harris to expand Medicare by broadening eligibility and “empowering Medicare to negotiate with pharmaceutical companies.”

In the letter obtained by and first reported on by Politico, Democratic Reps. Pramila JayapalPramila JayapalOvernight Health Care: CDC approves Pfizer vaccine for adolescents aged 12-15 | House moderates signal concerns with Pelosi drug pricing bill | Panel blasts COVID-19 response House moderates signal concerns with Pelosi drug pricing bill Almost 20 advocacy groups team up to pressure Congress to pass health care bill for immigrants MORE (Wash.), Jared Golden (Maine), Joe NeguseJoseph (Joe) NeguseOvernight Health Care: US to share millions of AstraZeneca vaccine doses with other countries | Biden speaks with Prime Minister Modi as COVID-19 surges in India House Democrats call on Biden to add Medicare-related provisions to economic plan A proposal to tackle congressional inside trading: Invest in the US MORE (Colo.) and Conor Lamb (Pa.) urged the Biden administration to lower the age of Medicare eligibility to 55; include vision, dental, hearing and an out-of-pocket cap; and allow Medicare to negotiate drug prices with drug manufacturers.

The lawmakers pointed to a study from Stanford University that found many people under the age of 65 wait until they have Medicare coverage to undergo diagnostic tests to determine whether they have diseases like cancer.

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They also argued for expanding the benefits offered by Medicare, pointing to reports that the majority of people who need hearing or dental devices do not have them.

“Poor oral health, vision loss, and hearing impairment have been independently linked to numerous negative health outcomes, such as diabetes, cardiovascular issues, depression and dementia,” the House Democrats wrote.

One of Biden's campaign promises was to get rid of the "outrageous exception" that allowed pharmaceutical companies to avoid negotiating with Medicare over drug prices.

"The United States spends, by far, more on prescription drugs than any other country, despite Medicare Part D being the largest purchaser in the world," the lawmakers wrote. "The Congressional Budget Office estimated Medicare could save over $450 billion and increase revenue by $45 billion over the next decade by requiring Medicare to negotiate with pharmaceutical companies."

Politico noted that more than 20 House Democrats have signed on to the letter. 

It comes one day after a group of 17 Democratic senators made the same requests as their House colleagues in a letter to Biden. The senators who signed that letter included Sens. Bernie SandersBernie SandersOvernight Health Care: CDC approves Pfizer vaccine for adolescents aged 12-15 | House moderates signal concerns with Pelosi drug pricing bill | Panel blasts COVID-19 response Briahna Joy Gray: Warren not endorsing Sanders in 2020 was 'really frustrating' House moderates signal concerns with Pelosi drug pricing bill MORE (I-Vt.), Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenWarren says Republican party 'eating itself and it is discovering that the meal is poisonous' Briahna Joy Gray: Warren not endorsing Sanders in 2020 was 'really frustrating' McConnell hits Democratic critics of Israel MORE (D-Mass.) and Debbie StabenowDeborah (Debbie) Ann StabenowThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Emergent BioSolutions - House GOP drama intensifies; BIden sets new vax goal Overnight Health Care: Biden sets goal of at least one shot to 70 percent of adults by July 4 | White House to shift how it distributes unallocated vaccines to states The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Emergent BioSolutions - Can Cheney defy the odds and survive again? MORE (D-Mich.).