President Biden Must Expand Medicare and Tax The Rich

We need Biden's forceful leadership to deliver on his popular Medicare expansion and tax fairness priorities in the Build Back Better Act.

October 22, 2021

Dear President Biden,

The undersigned organizations are fully committed to pushing Congress to enact your full Build Back Better agenda because we know that Americans cannot wait any longer for our government to deliver on these urgent priorities.

We are concerned that, because they would impact powerful industries or constituencies, many of the most popular elements of the Build Back Better agenda — lowering drug prices through Medicare negotiation, improving Medicare to provide hearing, vision and dental benefits, and taxing the rich to pay their fair share — are in peril. We are writing to urge you to do everything in your power to ensure that these critically important and overwhelmingly popular elements of your Build Back Better agenda make it over the finish line in the final bill.

Recent polling by Navigator Research shows that overwhelming majorities say the top three reasons they support the Build Back Better package are: expanding Medicare coverage (84 percent), reducing prescription drug costs (80 percent) and taxing the rich (75 percent)..Among independents and voters who disapprove of your administration’s handling of the economy but support Build Back Better, strong majorities consider these three priorities to be top reasons to support the bill. They are also the top three policies that voters indicate would help people like them.

We support these policies because they will save lives, reduce inequality and make families, communities and our country more secure. But it matters as well that these policies are so popular. As a candidate, you campaigned to lower drug prices, expand health care and increase tax fairness. For people across the country to have faith in our government, it must deliver on people’s felt needs and priorities.  

By contrast, if people see these overwhelmingly popular and desperately needed policies dropped because of opposition from a few corporations and billionaires, their sense of alienation will grow, with potentially very frightening consequences for the future of the country. We need your forceful leadership now to prevent this from occurring..

Americans urgently need our government to intervene to lower drug prices for Medicare and private plans. High U.S. drug spending is driven by excessive prices charged by prescription drug corporations, which lead to treatment rationing and preventable negative health outcomes, including death. Enacting a robust system of direct government drug price negotiation and price spike protections that provides relief to patients regardless of medical condition, insurance provider or status will save lives and prevent suffering and financial hardship for families across the nation. Advancing the strongest reform possible has potential to provide greater savings for reinvestment in our health care system. Conversely, any weakening of drug pricing reform would reduce savings and jeopardize other elements of the Build Back Better health care agenda.

Americans are also demanding that we expand Medicare, especially given the challenges seniors faced during the COVID-19 pandemic. Coming out of the crisis, many seniors will need additional services. Adding an out-of-pocket cap for medical expenses and finally delivering on dental, hearing and vision care in Medicare as soon as possible and without high cost-sharing would go a long way in improving access to needed care to our seniors at this critical moment.

And, finally, Americans are demanding that the rich pay their fair share of taxes. For far too long, corporations and the wealthy have gotten away with not paying their fair share of taxes, leaving regular tax payers to pick up their tab all while vital public services are starved of revenue. We must create a more equitable economy through progressive tax policy by closing loopholes that incentivize the U.S.-based multinational entities to offshore their profits; taxing billionaires who saw their wealth increase by over 70% during the pandemic; raising the corporate income tax rate; and increasing resources to the IRS in order to catch wealthy tax cheats.

Thank you for taking important steps toward creating a more healthy, just and fair society by setting forward these important priorities for our country to Build Back Better. We look forward to working together to ensure Congress delivers for the American people.

Signed,

African American Health Alliance

Allergy & Asthma Network

American Federation of Teachers

Americans for Democratic Action (ADA)

Americans for Tax Fairness

Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance, AFL-CIO

Association of Young Americans (AYA)

Blue Future

Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employes

Center for Popular Democracy

Communications Workers of America

Consumer Action

Doctors For America

For Our Future

Health & Medicine Policy Research Group

Health Care Voter

Indivisible

International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers (IFPTE)

International Union, United Automobile, Aerospace & Agricultural Implement Workers of America (UAW)

Jean-Michel Cousteau’s Ocean Futures Society

Just Care USA

Justice in Aging

Labor Campaign for Single Payer Healthcare

MoveOn

National Health Care for the Homeless Council

National Organization for Women

National Women’s Health Network

Our Revolution

Partners for Dignity & Rights

People’s Action 

PrEP4All

Protect Our Care

Public Advocacy for Kids

Public Citizen

Social Security Works

T1International

Tax March

United Church of Christ Justice and Local Church Ministries

United Electrical, Radio & Machine Workers of America (UE)

Universities Allied for Essential Medicines (UAEM)

Activate Virginia

AFSCME AZ Retirees Chapter 97

AIDS Foundation Chicago

ATU 757

AZ Medicare for All Coalition

Broward for Progress

CBFD Indivisible San Diego

Center for Independence of the Disabled, NY

Citizen Action of Wisconsin

Colorado Consumer Health Initiative

DelACA/OK Delaware

Health Care for All Oregon

Health Care for All-Washington

Health Care Justice–NC

Indivisible Arizona

Indivisible Georgia Coalition

Indivisible Illinois

Indivisible NJ 5th District

Indivisible Northern Nevada

Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement

Mainers for Accountable Leadership Action

Metro New York Health Care for All

National Association of Social Workers WV

NJ State Industrial Union Council

Northridge Indivisible 

Northwest Harvest

Our Maryland

Our Revolution Falls Church

Our Revolution New Jersey

Our Revolution Virginia

Portland Jobs with Justice

Progressive Democrats of America – Arizona

Progressive Democrats of America PDA Calif

Progressive Democrats of America-Tucson Chapter

Progressive Democrats of America-Virginia 

Rise Up WV

TakeAction Minnesota

Universal Health Care Foundation of Connecticut

Upper West Side MoveOn/Indivisible Action Group

Virginia Justice Democrats

Virginia Organizing

Washington Community Action Network 

WV Citizen Action Group