Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) is urging Democrats to move forward on changes to Medicare. Sanders is proposing expanding Medicare to include dental care, glasses, eye surgeries and hearing aids. He also wants to lower the entry age of the program from 65 to 55. The senator’s proposal would likely be a piece of the Biden infrastructure bill, which was announced on Wednesday.

“We’re talking about physical infrastructure, affordable housing. We’re talking about transforming our energy system to deal with climate change. We’re talking about human infrastructure,” Sanders told Politico on Monday. “In the rescue plan, we were able to take a major step forward in lowering child poverty – very important. Now I want to deal with issues facing seniors as well.”

Sanders pointed out the pharmaceutical industry, which has effectively lobbied the GOP into a Wild West of high-priced prescription drugs, has been reaping immense rewards by putting their profits ahead of health care. A new drug-pricing policy Sanders aims to include in the upcoming infrastructure bill has the potential to raise $450 billion over 10 years, which would then be routed to properly finance the underfunded Medicare system.

“Right now what I want to focus on is the fact that there is an enormous crisis facing seniors who are unable to get the dental care, the hearing aids, and the optical care that they need,” Sanders said.

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