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Key Senate Democrats used a hearing Wednesday to push back on the argument that expanding Medicare to include dental and vision coverage would bankrupt the program — a not-so-subtle message for Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin, who has said he opposes the expansion on those grounds and who remains a key vote for any major legislation.

Senate Democrats are hoping to expand Medicare coverage to include dental, vision, and hearing coverage as part of their massive social spending package — but the West Virginia senator suggested in September that he wants to shore up the program’s long-term solvency first.


Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Or.), chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, brought up the issue almost immediately at the Wednesday hearing, saying emphatically that “none of the plans … will reduce the solvency of Medicare’s Hospital Insurance Trust Fund at all – not one bit. Those benefits will have different sources of funding.”

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