“I’m not one to ever sacrifice good on the altar of perfection,” he said.
But Clyburn and others within the troublesome caucus say they still prefer the Medicare benefits — a top priority for Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and House Progressives – Reduce Than Sacrifice Medicaid. They argue that it would be better to limit new benefits such as dental, vision, and hearing coverage for older people already enrolled in Medicare, rather than further delaying help for uninsured lower-income people in swing states.
“I think there are more ways to reduce the dental portion without destroying it than on the Medicaid portion,” Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D-Tex.), chairman of the Ways and Means health subcommittee, told Mediafrolic. “I’m all for it” [dental, vision and hearing coverage]as long as it doesn’t crush my Medicaid.”
The ongoing debate underscores the huge challenge the party leadership faces as it enters one of the most dramatic weeks in Congress in recent history. Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced plans for a vote this week on both the bipartisan infrastructure bill and the reconciliation package.
Those close to the trial say any bill that lands on the president’s desk is likely to be cut across the board in the party’s plans to expand Medicare, Medicaid, Obamacare and home health care rather than one. massive shutdown of one thing. But some items are much more fragile than others — particularly facilities aimed at helping older, disabled and poor Americans — and there’s a growing awareness among Democrats that they’ll have to negotiate some top priorities.
Pressured by moderate Democrats in the House and Senate to shrink the overall package, Clyburn said he’s open to other ways to lower the cost of the Medicaid service, which would extend coverage to millions of people in states like the United States. his who refused the care program under the Affordable Care Act.
“I think we have to keep in mind that you don’t get the whole loaf every time you start,” he said, comparing the struggle to the civil rights movement building on its victories over time. “If we only get it for five years, that’s five years to keep working on it.”
But others worry that the program will go under, because it will take at least three years to set up and Republicans could win the majority in Congress before it comes for renewal.
Knives are out for the Medicaid extension for political reasons and also cost. Democrats leading the fight for the program on Capitol Hill say they have already faced opposition from colleagues who question why they should help states where Republicans have blocked expansion for years.
“That’s the wrong argument,” said Senator Raphael Warnock (D-Ga.), the Senate chief advocate. Warnock campaigned to expand Medicaid and hopes to continue next year to ensure passage in what is expected to be a tough reelection contest that could determine control of the Senate.
“This is what the American people voted for when they gave us the majority,” he said. “Whatever we do, we need to expand Medicaid.”
Clyburn said an unnamed senator from one of the 37 states that has expanded Medicaid recently asked him, “Why should we give South Carolina a pass?”
“We need to see this as a national problem and not allow health care to be determined by the state you live in,” he replied.
A health care source close to the Capitol Hill negotiations said that in addition to fears that expansion states would blame Democrats for providing free coverage to people in the remaining states, they are also concerned that Republican state leaders will try turn it to their advantage.
“You think [Texas Gov. Greg] Abbott will not run ads that say, “See? Hanging on was the best thing for Texas!” said the source.
Lawmakers and lawyers told Mediafrolic that the Biden administration’s call for a $400 billion investment in home health care is also in their sights as negotiators look for places to lower the cost of the overall bill.
Language removed from the House committee pushed the figure to $190 billion, and some in the Senate have pushed it to as low as $150 billion. Now lawmakers and advocates who support the program are arguing against leadership that a minimum of $200 billion to $250 billion is needed to make in-home services available to the more than 800,000 people on care waiting lists to help those people out of the to stay in trouble. staffed nursing homes and long-term care facilities in the midst of a pandemic.
“That’s the goal – trying to clear the waiting list,” Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), one of the senators who led talks on the home care piece, told Mediafrolic. “That’s what we use as the basis for the numbers we demand.”
The influential SEIU union — which represents thousands of home health workers across the country — has mobilized to protect the facility from further budget cuts, held meetings with every member of Congress, ran digital and TV ads targeting Senator Kyrsten Sinema ( D. Ariz.) and other moderate Democrats who have called for austerity and hold rallies on Capitol Hill.
“We’ve Heard Senate Finances Are $200 Billion” [in funding], but we keep going,” SEIU President Mary Kay Henry told Mediafrolic. “If the numbers get too low, services will expand, but workers’ wages will not rise. That should make the moderates pause.”
Megan Wilson contributed to this report.