The AARP Voters’ Guide for U.S. Senate in Massachusetts, printed below, compiles publicly available information and statements from candidates’ campaign sources on Social Security, Medicare and financial security. Find out where Scott P. Brown (R) and Elizabeth A. Warren (D) stand on these issues before voting on Nov. 6. AARP is nonpartisan and does not own a political action committee (PAC), support or oppose political candidates, or contribute money to political parties or political candidates’ campaigns.
How would you protect Social Security for today’s seniors and strengthen it for future generations?
AARP: Social Security should continue to guarantee that Americans who work and pay into the system receive benefits based on what they earn and contribute.
•Benefits should keep up with inflation and last for as long as an individual lives.
•We must protect benefits for people who count on them most, including surviving spouses and families, low-wage workers, and individuals who become disabled and can no longer work.
•Social Security must be put on stable financial ground, but any adjustments should be implemented gradually so changes do not impact those in or near retirement.
Scott P. Brown (R): We’re in a financial emergency right now. We have some very, very real challenges…If anybody’s telling you that everything’s OK, and don’t worry about it, and you’re going to get all your benefits, and everything’s fine,’ then they’re not really telling you the truth. [Unless major entitlement programs are overhauled] they won’t be there for your family. (Source: Boston Globe; ow.ly/c4fUG)
Elizabeth A. Warren (D): Too many have been using scare tactics when it comes to Social Security. The problems in Social Security funding are serious, but they are fixable. Social Security is safe for at least the next 25 years and, if we act quickly, we can make modest changes that will keep the system solvent without cutting back on benefits. We need honesty and political will to move forward. Social Security is a promise made to our seniors and it would be a breach of trust – and just plain poor economic policy – to jeopardize this program with unnecessary cuts or risky privatization schemes. (Source: E. Warren Website; ow.ly/c4gAS)
How would you put Medicare on stronger financial ground and protect today’s seniors and future retirees from the burden of rising health costs?
AARP: Medicare should be strengthened and improved so both current and future generations can count on having access to high-quality, affordable coverage.
•Medicare should continue to guarantee a specific set of benefits that are affordable and meet a person’s health care needs.
•Medicare should offer choices that ensure access to high-quality health care.
•Medicare should improve the quality, safety, and efficiency of care by emphasizing value and cracking down on fraud, waste, and abuse.
Scott P. Brown (R): If [it] is to survive for current beneficiaries and future generations, we must act… [Some] propose transforming Medicare into a premium support plan over the long term. I cannot support [t]his specific plan… I fear that as health inflation rises, the cost of private plans will outgrow the government premium support— and the elderly will be forced to pay ever higher deductibles and co-pays…We can work inside of Medicare to make it more solvent…That track must lead to a sound financial
future — where we protect and provide for the elderly while also promoting fiscal responsibility. (Source: Politico; ow.ly/c4gcJ)
Elizabeth A. Warren (D): For too long, politicians have proposed privatizing Medicare, turning it into a voucher program, or cutting it altogether. Of course, these cuts won
’t keep people from getting sick and needing care. Instead, these cuts are about shifting ever-growing health care costs onto seniors. This must stop. I will not support privatizing Medicare, turning it into a voucher program, or cutting benefits. (Source: E. Warren Website; ow.ly/c4gHi)
How would you help Americans build a financial nest egg for their retirement?
AARP: There should be more opportunities and incentives for all Americans to save for their retirement and financial security.
Freedom from age discrimination is a fundamental right, and all Americans should be able to keep working and contributing to society regardless of age.
Promoting affordable homeowner- ship and safeguarding home equity are important to maintain and improve the independence and quality of life of Americans age 50-plus.
Scott P. Brown (R): With our nation’s debt at record levels and out-of-control spending here in Washington, we must get our fiscal house in order. We must stop spending and putting more debt on the government’s credit card… Much of our debt is owed to China and other foreign powers… Instead, we must start paying for things. We must take a hard look at how taxpayer dollars are spent and eliminate wasteful and unnecessary spending… and we should consider ways to reform entitlement programs such as Medicare and Medicaid. (Source: S. Brown Website; ow.ly/c4gkz)