In this year's New Hampshire Congressional District 2 race, incumbent Democrat Ann McLane Kuster is facing challenger Republican Steve Negron. To understand how they plan to protect Social Security and Medicare, stimulate the economy, lower prescription drug prices and ensure that Americans have access to affordable long-term care, AARP New Hampshire asked each candidate to answer five key questions in 60-second videos. Here are their responses, with transcripts:
1. If elected, how will you ensure that current and future Social Security benefits are not cut as part of deficit reduction?
I absolutely support Social Security. There are people out there and our senior citizens that absolutely depend on Social Security and we need to make sure that that's protected. The truth of the matter is, is that we have to have an honest dialog about Social Security. We have to make sure that Social Security is there today for those that are using it, but it has to be there for the future generations to come. Washington could do some things now. They're not doing it. We have to start taking a hard look at it now, so that it's there for the current people using it and for future generations, for the folks of the great state of New Hampshire going forward.
Ann McLane Kuster
In Congress, I consistently opposed partisan proposals that would cut benefits for current and future retirees. America's seniors rely on this program and it is critical that Social Security remain solvent for generations to come. So that's why I helped introduce the Social Security 2100 Act, which would ensure the program's solvency through the end of this century, while expanding benefits and cutting taxes for beneficiaries. I'm proud to help champion this legislation, because I will always stand up for Granite State Seniors.
2. If elected, ho will you protect Medicare to ensure seniors continue receiving the affordable care they have earned?
Ann McLane Kuster
With nearly 250,000 Granite Staters over the age of 65, Medicare is critically important to ensuring that seniors have access to quality, affordable health care. An important step that I have taken to lower health care costs for seniors is supporting passage of the Elijah Cummings Lower Drug Costs Now Act, which gives Medicare the power to negotiate discounts for drugs and caps out-of-pocket expenses for Medicare enrollees. Granite State Seniors should never have to decide between putting food on the table and ensuring they can afford their medication. As we continue to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, it's critical that we continue to fight for lower drug costs for our seniors.
One of my number-one priorities when I get down to Washington is to make sure that we still protect and provide the right kind of healthcare coverage for our senior citizens. Look, what Congress can do from day one is we have an outdated healthcare design. We need to make sure that we bring these people in and work with things like Medicare Advantage. Those are the ways that we could bring down costs. Our senior citizens have earned the right to have healthcare. I, as a congressman, will make sure that we fight for them every day so they have the same insurance and the same coverage that they have, all the time making it better and I'll do that for the great state of New Hampshire.
3. If elected, how will you help Americans over the age of 50 recover economically from the effects of the coronavirus?
Without a doubt, COVID-19 impacted the economy of the great state of New Hampshire. Look, I'm a small-business owner. I know it firsthand. I lost folks due to the COVID-19 pandemic. But my job here in Congress is to make sure that I work hand-in-glove with the lead executive of the great state of New Hampshire. Look, I was able to participate in the PPP program, which allowed me to bridge the gap until I was able to get back on my feet and get my business running again. When I'm in Congress, that's exactly what I will do. I will make sure that the great folks at the great state of New Hampshire, the small businesses in our great state, have the opportunity to get back to we were pre-COVID-19 and that's one thing I promise all the small-business owners here in the great state.
Ann McLane Kuster
The COVID-19 pandemic has dramatically reshaped our economy in ways that we could never have even imagined. With record levels of unemployment and older Americans struggling to find work, it's critical that Congress advance policies to support job training and skills development, so workers will have the technical experience for the 21st century jobs. Congress must ensure that workers have access to key benefits like paid sick leave, affordable childcare, and help for parents who are now working from home. If reelected to Congress, Granite Staters back to work will be one of my top priorities.
4. If elected, how will you cut prescription drug prices for all Americans?
Ann McLane Kuster
I'm proud to have helped lead the charge in passing HR 3, the Elijah Cummings Lower Drug Costs Now Act, which passed the House last year. This sweeping legislation would save billions in prescription drug costs by finally allowing Medicare to directly negotiate drug prices and by capping out-of-pocket costs for seniors. I've long been a proponent for allowing Medicare to negotiate a volume discount, and I'm pleased that the House has finally passed this critical legislation to save seniors money on their prescriptions. But we must do more. We need to ensure that American seniors stop getting ripped off by drug companies who market their drugs in other countries at a fraction of the cost. I look forward to continuing to lead on this issue when reelected to the United States Congress.
One of the biggest issues facing senior citizens is the cost of prescription drugs. We absolutely have to do something to bring down the costs of prescription medications, not only for senior citizens, but for everybody here in the great state of New Hampshire. I don't know why Congress hasn't actually started renegotiating Medicare Part B. We have to do something with that. It's something that's absolutely fundamental to bringing down the cost of drug prices. And if we're able to do that, then everybody will be able to benefit, specifically the senior citizens of the great state of New Hampshire.
5. If elected, how will you make sure seniors can access safe and affordable long-term care at home and in nursing homes and assisted living facilities?
Over the last six months, we now know that because of this COVID-19 pandemic, that there's a universe of folks that we need to protect, and those are our senior citizens. It isn't just in assisted living facilities, but it's also in-home care as well. I would work hand-in-glove with the legislature here in the great state of New Hampshire to make sure that any federal resources that could be applied and could be gotten on the behalf of the great state of New Hampshire, I will work with them. Look, we know we need to protect our senior citizens. They can count on me to make sure that I would be a vocal proponent for them and make sure that we bring all the resources back from the federal government to the great state of New Hampshire.
Ann McLane Kuster
In New Hampshire, and across the country, we have seen the tragic toll that COVID-19 has had on long-term care facilities and nursing homes. Earlier this year, I was proud to vote for the Heroes Act, which included billions of dollars in funding to bolster protection for these facilities, deploying more resources to nursing homes struggling with COVID-19 cases, and prioritizing testing for older Americans and individuals with disabilities. This legislation would also ensure that health care workers have access to the equipment and PPE that they need to stay safe. The health and safety of our healthcare workers is key to combating this pandemic.
AARP is committed to ensuring voters have the information they need to cast their ballot this year. That is why we are publishing the AARP Asks the Candidates voter guide series, so candidates can share their plans on issues important to 50-plus voters.
AARP has a proud 34-year history of nonpartisan voter engagement and does not endorse or oppose candidates or make contributions to political campaigns or candidates.
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