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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

Indiana's candidates for the U.S. Senate say they want to protect Social Security and Medicare for today's beneficiaries, but have widely differing views on providing benefits for future generations.

See also: State ID laws restrict older Americans.

Joe Donnelly (D) and Richard Mourdock (R) will face off Nov. 6 for the seat that will be vacated by Richard Lugar (R).

Donnelly, 57, is a U.S. congressman from Granger who has served the 2nd District in northern Indiana since 2007. He earned a degree from the University of Notre Dame's law school and practiced law before starting a printing company. Donnelly, whose campaign focuses on bringing jobs to the state, said he is running to be "a common-sense, bipartisan U.S. senator who gets things done for middle-class families in Indiana."

Mourdock, 60, is a resident of Darmstadt in southern Indiana and has been state treasurer since 2007. He holds a master's degree from Ball State University in geology and worked as a geologist before creating an environmental consulting company. Mourdock's campaign focuses on fiscal responsibility.

The candidates' positions were taken from written responses to questions from the AARP Bulletin and from their campaign websites.

Views on Medicare

Mourdock said he favors "immediate and comprehensive" Medicare reform. He would make the program sustainable by replacing the Affordable Care Act with what he said would be more effective, market-based reforms. He would protect current benefits for those 55 and older. For future beneficiaries, he would seek cost reductions, increased flexibility, greater choices and increased competition. Mourdock supports a plan proposed by GOP vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan that would give beneficiaries a subsidy to buy insurance on the private market but keep traditional fee-for-service Medicare as an option.

Donnelly said he wants to make sure Medicare is there for future generations. "I oppose efforts to turn Medicare into a voucher program because it would increase out-of-pocket costs for seniors by an average of $6,000 per person. My opponent … has questioned the constitutionality of Medicare and supported the voucher proposal."

Next: Addressing the future of Social Security. »

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