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The Candidates Speak

Sen. John McCain and Sen. Barack Obama answer questions about the health care and Social Security challenges facing older Hispanics.

AARP Segunda Juventud asked each of the major presidential candidates—senators John McCain (R) and Barack Obama (D)—to answer the following question in 150 words.

AARP Segunda Juventud did not edit or modify their responses in English or Spanish.

Question: What is the greatest challenge facing older Hispanics, and how would you begin addressing it now?

Senator McCain's Response: 

I am deeply concerned about the rising cost of health care in our nation, which impacts older Hispanics among the hardest of any community. As health costs go up, they are often forced to withdraw money from personal or retirement savings to pay for health-related expenses. So not only do they face high health costs but also the prospect of watching their savings dwindle—and all at a time when our Social Security and Medicare programs face increasing fiscal challenges as more people reach retirement age.

I believe that we must honor our commitment to our retirees and also confront the rising cost of care that pushes health insurance beyond the reach of so many. I have a plan to reduce costs and expand health coverage to meet the needs of older Hispanics and all those across our nation who face rising health care bills.

Senator Obama's Response: 

The Latino population is living longer and growing older, and I believe we need to ensure that elderly Latinos have a secure and healthy retirement. As president, I will work to ensure that all families, including Latinos, can achieve the dream of a comfortable retirement. I will strengthen Social Security, one of the most successful government programs in our nation's history, and be honest with the American people about the long-term solvency of Social Security.

I will enact a universal pension program to ensure most of the 75 million workers without employed-based retirement accounts have the opportunity to save. I will also strengthen the Medicare program by eliminating waste in the program, focusing more on chronic disease management and prevention, and tackling fundamental health care reform across our economy to reduce the growth in Medicare spending. Finally, I will also support family members who choose to care for their elderly relatives.

AARP's exclusive survey gauged Hispanic voters' views on their role in the 2008 elections and problems facing the country—with surprising results. See the full poll results, and learn why Latino voters are feeling optimistic.

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