After Republicans greased the wheels by advancing President Biden’s infrastructure agenda, emboldened Democrats led by Budget Committee chairman Bernie Sanders on Monday went full speed ahead by unveiling a sweeping $3.5 trillion resolution that will require only 51 votes to pass. Among other things, it would mean the largest expansion of government in the health-care arena since Obamacare.
The proposal expands Obamacare in two direct ways. One, it makes permanent a provision in the COVID-19 relief bill that makes insurance subsidies more generous. This will funnel hundreds of billions of dollars to insurance companies. Two, the resolution would create a new government-run health-care program available to individuals in states that chose not to participate in Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion. This is an effort to get around the Supreme Court ruling, which left the Medicaid expansion up to states.
But the proposal would not stop with Obamacare.
In addition, the resolution would add dental, vision, and hearing benefits to Medicare — the program that is the primary driver of the nation’s debt and that is expected to be insolvent within five years.
The bill would also spend more money on home- and community-based care and vows to reduce prescription-drug costs.
This government expansion comes on top of proposals for universal pre-K, free community college, more student loans, climate spending, and an additional wave of infrastructure spending.
It’s worth noting that every penny that gets spent will have been enabled by the Republican minority.