EXCLUSIVE: Sen. Rick Scott is calling for a hearing on the Medicare provisions in the Democrats’ social spending bill, alleging the bill represents a “war on seniors.”
Scott, R-Fla., says that by allowing the government to “set the price” for prescription drugs, the bill will result in less investment in new therapies that could help seniors. He also criticizes Democrats for taking the potential savings from that move and investing it on other priorities, rather than back into Medicare.
“This is going to put Medicare recipients in a worse position because… there’ll be life-saving drugs that are not developed,” Scott told Fox News Digital. “Medicare, the trust fund goes bankrupt in about four years. So it doesn’t do anything to make that better.”
Scott, a member of the Senate Committee on Aging, is also attacking the bill for raising taxes on the middle class, and even low income earners, according to Joint Committee on Taxation numbers. Scott said that could disproportionately hit seniors on “fixed incomes.”
“I think clearly we ought to know these things before we ever vote on something,” Scott said on his call for a hearing. “People want to vote on things before we know how it impacts. So I think we ought to [hold a hearing] first, and then we can make a better decision on the bill.”
The committee, chaired by Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa., is unlikely to listen to Scott’s calls. Senate Democrats aim to pass the entire bill late this week or early next week by using a process called “reconciliation” to avoid a filibuster.
However, the line of attack from the Scott, who represents a state with one of the highest senior populations in the U.S., just adds to the flurry from Republicans as they pull out all the stops to block the social spending bill.
Titled the “Inflation Reduction Act,” the social spending bill was announced by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., and Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., last week. It is the latest of several attempts from Democrats to pass a party-line reconciliation bill, which they initially called “Build Back Better.”
Republicans are also attacking the bill for allegedly increasing taxes on the middle class and slamming oddball-sounding climate provisions, including money to control methane emissions from cows. Republicans are also saying the bill will raise natural gas prices due to climate-related taxes.
Democrats are defending the bill as helping beat back inflation, while putting the U.S. in a better position on Medicare, energy and climate issues.
“This legislation would drastically lower prescription drug costs and finally let Medicare negotiate drug prices—this is a big deal and a huge step forward,” Senate Health Education Labor and Pensions Committee Chair Patty Murray, D-Wash., said about the bill last week.
“These are things that we’ve all talked about in bipartisan groups. How can we start paying down our debt and… take our finances seriously, our financial house in order?” Manchin said Monday, pitching the bill to GOP colleagues. “These are things every time we get together as a group, bipartisan support, this is what we talk about.”