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Where Do the Candidates Stand?

Where do the candidates for Alaska Governor, Lt. Governor, U.S. Senate and U. S. House stand on the issues important to you and your family? In series of video voter guides, Ann Secrest, AARP Alaska’s director of communication, sat down with candidates running for Congress and Alaska’s two top offices to get their views on a variety of topics.

U.S. House & U. S. Senate Candidates

Secrest asked the candidates running for Senate and House the following questions in bold.

What changes would you propose to help ensure Social Security is there for future generations? While Social Security is currently financially strong and has enough revenue to pay 100% of benefits until 2037 and 75% after that, most agree that’s not good enough and changes need to be made to ensure people can collect on the benefits they’ve earned.

If elected, would you support cutting Social Security to reduce the deficit? This was asked because our nation’s deficit is threatening our financial security and needs to be reduced. Some have suggested that one way to reduce the deficit would be to cut Social Security benefits but Social Security is financed by workers contributions and didn’t cause the deficit.

If elected, what would you do to crackdown on Medicare fraud? This is an important question as millions of seniors fall victim to Medicare fraud each year – whether it’s phony billing schemes, identity theft or telemarketers that sell products beneficiaries don’t need and this fraud is costing taxpayers millions of dollars, driving up our national debt.

If elected, what would you do to ensure doctors are adequately paid so seniors can have the peace of mind that they’ll be able to find a doctor when they need one? In Alaska, finding a doctor is becoming a crisis and to date, Congress has been unable to agree on a new system that will pay doctors fairly.

Responses from candidates can be found online at the AARP Alaska YouTube channel. And if you don’t know where to vote, find a location online or call the Polling Place Locator. Outside Anchorage call 1-888-383-8683 and in Anchorage call 269-8683.

Governor & Lt. Governor

Candidates for Governor and Lt. Governor were asked the following questions in bold.

Whether they support or oppose reinstating a Defined Benefit system for public employees, according to Secrest. AARP supports the provision of pensions for employees as well as incentives for all employees to save for retirement. Alaska is one of only twelve states where public employees – police, firefighters and teachers – do not participate in Social Security, which is a guaranteed source of income a person cannot outlive. Public employees had their own retirement plan until 2006 when the legislature eliminated it in an attempt to save the state money. There have been reports of difficulties in recruiting and keeping qualified public employees. Many of these public employees are not eligible to participate in Social Security and it is AARP’s position that Social Security should be the basis of lifetime, guaranteed, inflation-protected retirement income.

Do you support or oppose proposals that would establish financial incentives to attract and retain health care professionals? Alaska has a shortage of physicians, pharmacists, dentists and other health care workers. Loan repayment and incentive programs are two of the most effective strategies in addressing both recruitment and retention in support-for-service programs and AARP Alaska supports this legislation as Alaska suffers from labor shortages in most professional health care occupations.

Whether they support or oppose regular rate reviews for home and community based service providers. Many older people and younger persons with disabilities are on Medicaid. Home and community based services gives them more independence and saves money for the Medicaid program. Over the last few years, rates for home and community based services have been frozen while hospital and nursing home rates are reviewed annually. Just as there are periodic surveys for nursing homes and hospitals, AARP supports proposals which would require a periodic cost survey for home and community-based services.

Responses from candidates can be found online at the AARP Alaska YouTube channel. And if you don’t know where to vote, find a location online or call the Polling Place Locator. Outside Anchorage call 1-888-383-8683 and in Anchorage call 269-8683.

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