With Alice Miranda Ollstein
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— Democrats are still haggling over a trio of major provisions that could determine the fate of much of President Joe Biden’s health agenda.
— A bomb threat shut down HHS headquarters and other federal buildings for hours on Wednesday.
— New polling shows most small-business owners support the administration’s forthcoming vaccine requirements.
WELCOME TO THURSDAY PULSE — where the dark days of March 2020 are (hopefully) gone but Tiger King somehow is not. Send tips to [email protected] and [email protected].
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INSIDE THE DEM STANDOFF ON HEALTH CARE — As Democrats close in on the deadline for finalizing their social spending package, nearly all the proposal’s major health policies remain unresolved — leaving party leaders struggling to manage the competing ideological forces surrounding each.
Here’s the latest on where things stand ahead of a pivotal 24 hours, per POLITICO’s Alice Miranda Ollstein:
Medicare expansion: Democrats are mired in an extended impasse over the fate of extending dental, vision and hearing benefits to traditional Medicare, with centrist Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) balking at further expanding a program he argues is headed toward insolvency.
Senate Budget Chair Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) has led the progressive charge in favor of the benefits for months, insisting that leaving the provision out of a final bill would be unacceptable. One idea on the table: A cheaper voucher concept, particularly for dental. Lawmakers have also discussed clawing back some savings from Medicare Advantage plans to help cover the …….