Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer on Sunday called for Medicare to cover the coronavirus vaccine, which is still being developed and is at least months away from being widely available.
Schumer’s plan is to add a provision into the spending package being negotiated in Congress, which would ensure seniors can be immunized at no cost.
Several vaccines are in development in the U.S. and abroad. But they are still in early stages.
A spokesperson for Schumer said they do not have a cost estimate yet for Medicare but believe it will save money in the long run if it prevents people from becoming ill.
“My plan to have Medicare fully cover the cost of the vaccine will mean no senior will be forced to make the choice between shelling out and going without,” Schumer said during a press conference in New York.
Congress is currently debating a $2.5 billion funding request from the Trump administration that top Democrats such as Schumer, and even a few Republicans, have said is inadequate given the crisis at hand.
Schumer has proposed an $8.5 billion plan that includes $2 billion to reimburse state and local governments and $1 billion for vaccine development.