As we edge ever closer to Election Day, we hear more and more from older Mainers expressing deep concern about health care costs and retirement security. In a recent AARP Maine survey of voters 50 and over, respondents expressed reservations about having enough money saved for retirement — 72 percent describe their personal financial situation as “staying where you are” or “struggling to keep up.” That’s not good enough for the nation’s oldest state.

While AARP continues its series of voter engagement community conversations around the state (www.aarp.org/me), many participants voice concern about issues such as future health care premium hikes, the rising cost of prescription drugs, long-term care and potential changes to Medicare. All of these issues can have an impact on a person’s entire family, and we hope Mainers will continue to make their voices heard.

Of paramount concern is the future of Medicare. While we recognize that Medicare needs to be strengthened for future generations, potentially shifting costs to seniors and workers who have paid into the system their entire working lives would be the wrong approach. We can put Medicare on stable ground with common-sense solutions, such as clamping down on drug companies’ high prices, improving coordination of care and use of technology, and cutting out waste and fraud. In the same Maine voter survey, 95 percent of those who responded think that Medicare is very important for people’s health in retirement.

Mainers over the age of 50 consistently show up more often to vote compared to younger voters. With the influence this voting bloc will likely have, I am eager to hear from the candidates where they stand on issues such as health care costs and Medicare, both of which affect one’s security in retirement.

Pat Wehner

AARP Maine Advocacy Volunteer

Augusta


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