Candidates discuss the future of Social Security and Medicare

7:04 PM, Nov 1, 2012   |    comments
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WESTBROOK, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- The economy is expected to play a huge role in the upcoming elections, but the future of Social Security and Medicare will be also be on the minds of millions of Americans when they enter the voting booth.

NEWS CENTER talked to some Mainers about some of the proposals being floated to help put the country's two major entitlement program on stronger financial ground.

Phil and Nancy Curran have been married for 57 years and have 7 grandchildren. Phil is a former bank officer, Nancy worked at a telephone company. When they retired more than 20 years ago, they began receiving Social Security and Medicare benefits. Living on a fixed income, the benefits are key to their financial survival in their 'golden years'.

'I really do think that among all the grand things in this country, Social Security and Medicare are the greatest,' said Curran..
He says along with the economy, ensuring the future of the two program will determine who gets his vote on November 6th.

One proposal would be to allow new Medicare recipients, starting in 2023 a choice of traditional Medicare or buying private health insurance, funded party with Medicare taxes, but Curran is strongly against a voucher system.

61-year old Bob Furman of South Portland still has a couple of years to go before he can begin drawing Social Security and Medicare benefits. He is a telecommunications consultant, who works from home. He isn't too worried about the future of Social Security but he has concerns about raising the retirement age as a way to 'fix' the program.

'We are running into issues of the haves and have nots, the haves can put off for retirement, social security for a while. Those who are the have nots, their life expectancy isn't increasing the way the haves are so to speak, I think that would create an issue, the very people we have the program for, we would be hurting them,' said Furman.

As for the Currans, they don't believe Social Security will ever go away for good. They are hopeful that the benefits will remain the same or close to for their children and future generations. Besides casting their vote, that's all they can do for now.


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