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Build Back Better Plan EXPLAINED for Seniors and Low Income

The Build Back Better budget reconciliation bill, is one of two huge pieces of legislation that form the centerpiece of Biden’s domestic agenda. While the other bill is focused on infrastructure, Build Back Better focuses on a long list of social policies and programs ranging from education and healthcare to housing and climate change. With Republicans unified in opposition, Democrats are using a special budgetary process known as “reconciliation” to avoid the 60-vote filibuster threshold and pass the bill on a party-line vote. So what parts of this bill would affect the elderly and those living on low-income?


Well, one major proposal would be to update Medicare. Medicare is the government-run healthcare program for those ages 65 and over. The passage of Build Back Better would expand Medicare services to cover vision, hearing and dental health needs, which it currently does not. Medicaid, on the other hand, is the government-run healthcare program for low-income families and disabled people who may be unable to get private insurance. This bill would remove certain income and health limitations to allow more people to qualify for the first time. The Build Back Better Plan also aims to lower prescription drug costs. Prescription drugs in the US are more than 2.5 times more expensive on average than prescriptions drugs in the rest in the world. The US ranks first in the cost of prescription drugs like insulin and epinephrine. So what’s the reason for these exorbitant prices?


Right now, pharmaceutical companies can determine the price of drugs because the US lacks control over pricing. In addition to expanding Medicare services, Build Back Better would give the government bargaining power to negotiate the cost of prescription drugs with pharmaceutical companies for the first time to bring prices down. So what exactly doesn’t this bill cover when it comes to seniors and those on low-income? Well, while Medicare services could expand if this bill is passed, it still does not guarantee Medicare for all, meaning the US will still lag behind many other nations around the world in not offering some form of universal healthcare. This bill also does not include any provisions for student loan debt forgiveness. The average student loan debt owed in the US is $37,693.Finally, there are no additional benefits increases in social security or federal assistance for the poor, elderly and disabled including SSI, SSDI, and VA. So for the benefits that are being included, when exactly will all of these changes be put into place?


Well, Democrats have set their own deadline of October 31st to vote on the bill to get it passed. Typically, a bill needs 60 votes to get passed but since this bill is related to the national budget, it qualifies to go through the process of reconciliation, which requires only a simple majority of votes to pass. The bill, which was introduced and passed in the House, is now in the Senate. However, the bill seems to have the support of all Democratic senators except for two: Senators Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona.


Without the support of these two legislators, passing this bill will be difficult, if not impossible. If Democrats are able to push the bill through, the items outlined in the plan should fully come to fruition by the year 2030, or within the span of 10 years. Alright guys, those are the latest updates I have you regarding the push to pass President Biden’s Build Back Better Plan.

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