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.
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)
Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employes
Center for Popular Democracy
Communications Workers of America
Doctors For America
For Our Future
Health & Medicine Policy Research Group
Health Care Voter
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
National Health Care for the Homeless Council
National Organization for Women
National Women’s Health Network
Partners for Dignity & Rights
Protect Our Care
Public Advocacy for Kids
Social Security Works
United Church of Christ Justice and Local Church Ministries
United Electrical, Radio & Machine Workers of America (UE)
Universities Allied for Essential Medicines (UAEM)
AFSCME AZ Retirees Chapter 97
AIDS Foundation Chicago
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
Health Care for All Oregon
Health Care for All-Washington
Health Care Justice–NC
Indivisible Georgia Coalition
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
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
Universal Health Care Foundation of Connecticut
Upper West Side MoveOn/Indivisible Action Group
Virginia Justice Democrats
Washington Community Action Network
WV Citizen Action Group