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Medicare, Social Security Loom Large

Candidates for the U.S. Senate have widely differing views on providing benefits for future generations

Indiana Senate Race: Social Security and Medicare

U.S. Senate candidates Joe Donnelly (D), left, and Richard Mourdock (R) have different views on preserving and strengthening Social Security and Medicare. Photos by AP and AJ Mast/AP

Social Security's future

Addressing the future of Social Security, Mourdock said: "We must act soon to protect and strengthen Social Security for future generations through comprehensive and sustainable reform, which starts by protecting current benefits for those who are 55 or older." He would prohibit Congress from borrowing from the trust fund to finance federal spending and reform Social Security to make it sustainable, without raising taxes, and require younger workers to establish personal retirement accounts.

Donnelly said: "I support keeping our promises to seniors who are currently in the program and making sure that the program is strong for future generations. I oppose risky plans to privatize Social Security. … Seniors have paid into Social Security with lifetimes of work, and we need to make sure it is protected."

The candidates vary widely on how to improve retirement security. Mourdock said tax and other policies should create incentives for savings and investment and foster individual- and employer-supported retirement plans. Donnelly wants to bring more good-paying jobs to Indiana so people can work and save for retirement.

The candidates take opposing views on the Affordable Care Act. Donnelly said that while the act isn't perfect, he supported it because there should be "affordable, accessible, quality health care in this country." He favors fixing what isn't working and protecting what he called the many good provisions in the law, such as closing the Medicare Part D "doughnut hole" for prescription drug costs.

Mourdock said he opposes the ACA "and would support instead insurance reforms designed to put patients and doctors back in charge of medicine, create new, broader choices for consumers and make all health care expenses tax-deductible."

Nancy Johnson is a freelance writer based in South Bend, Ind.

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