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Jeanne Shaheen and Bryant "Corky" Messner Answer 5 Questions Vital to Voters Age 50+

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In this year's New Hampshire Senate race, incumbent Democrat Jeanne Shaheen is facing challenger Republican Bryant "Corky" Messner. 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?

NH Senate Q1 Social Security

Bryant "Corky" Messner:
Hi, I'm Corky Messner. As the US Senator from New Hampshire, I will ensure that Social Security is never cut as part of deficit reduction by never voting for it. I will never vote to reduce Social Security benefits for anybody, and my position is informed by the fact that I came from a blue collar-family, and my mother, God bless her soul, in her old age only had Social Security. There was no retirement after my father died. She relied solely on Social Security, so I understand the importance of Social Security benefits to seniors, so I will never vote for reduction, and in fact, I will fight hard to make sure Social Security benefits are never reduced. And I will fight, I will be your champion in the US Senate. Thank you.

Jeanne Shaheen:
Seniors who work hard all their lives deserve a secure retirement. They should be able to depend on Social Security when they need it. They paid into it. It should be there in retirement. About a third of New Hampshire seniors would be in poverty without Social Security. Now, Social Security faces some long-term challenges, but it is not in crisis and we should not be using Social Security to address this country's deficits. I will fight against that under any circumstances. There are other ways to address our debt and deficits in this country. We need to end tax breaks for the biggest corporations, for the big pharmaceutical companies, for those who can afford to pay taxes and should be doing that. I have worked across the aisle to try and protect Social Security and I will continue to do that as your senator.

2. If elected, how will you protect Medicare from benefit cuts, lower health care costs and ensure seniors continue receiving the affordable care they have earned?

NH Senate Q2 Medicare

Jeanne Shaheen:
I believe every American should have access to healthcare. That's what Medicare is all about. And so many in New Hampshire and across the country have benefited from Medicare. When we passed the Affordable Care Act, we extended the life of the Medicare Trust Fund, and we also made available a number of preventive procedures free of charge. We began to close the doughnut hole to help address the high cost of prescription drugs, which are one of the main drivers of increasing healthcare costs. But we can do something about that. We can allow generic drugs to come to the market faster. We can allow the reimportation of safe, affordable drugs from Canada and other countries. And most important, we can allow Medicare to negotiate with the big pharmaceutical companies, just like the VA does. We should extend telehealth, and I will continue to work across the aisle to protect Medicare for all seniors.

Bryant "Corky" Messner:
Hi there, I'm Corky Messner, US Senate candidate in New Hampshire, and I will protect and preserve Medicare for seniors and my position is informed by the fact that my mother only had Medicare in her older years. She didn't have any kind of retirement. My father was a blue-collar worker and he died early, so I understand the importance of Medicare to seniors. I will not ever vote to reduce Medicare benefits. I will not vote for Medicare for All because Medicare for All is Medicare for none. I will work hard to reduce healthcare costs, including reducing the price of prescription drugs, and to make sure that prescription drugs for seniors are affordable, and I will fight hard in the US Senate so that seniors' Medicare is protected in all respects. Thank you, I'm Corky Messner.

3. If elected, how will you help Americans over the age of 50 recover economically from the effects of the coronavirus?

NH Senate Economic Recovery Q4

Bryant "Corky" Messner
The way I would help people over the age of 50 recover from the economic effects of Covid 19 is first and foremost, help bring back a vibrant economy where there’s jobs, jobs, jobs. And in my USA plan on my website Corky for Senate dot com it explains how we’re going to bring back manufacturing jobs from China, the incentives we’re going to provide to businesses to get jobs, and with a vibrant, growing economy we know that a rising tide lifts all boats and that will be those over the age of 50. In addition what I would do is provide some tax incentives to businesses to hire those who are over 50 and who need help. And make sure that there’s a government safety net for them as well. Thank you.

Jeanne Shaheen
There is no doubt that long term care facilities have take the brunt of this coronavirus pandemic. Too many people have died. That’s why I’ve worked hard in Washington to get more funding for testing and contact tracing, for personal protective equipment and it’s why I’ve cosponsored legislation to provide an additional twenty billion dollars for long term care facilities so that we can make sure they survive. But we also need more options for people as we age. We need more home and community based services. That’s what I’ve supported in the Senate. We need to support meals on wheels and congregate meals programs. When I was Governor, I got a waiver from Medicaid so that we could retrofit people’s homes to keep them there as they aged, because that’s where seniors want to be. They want to be at home where they’re comfortable. I will continue to fight for those programs and to address the challenges facing our long term care facilities.

4. If elected, how will you cut prescription drug prices for all Americans?

NH Senate rx q4

Jeanne Shaheen
Everywhere I go in New Hampshire I hear concerns about the high cost of prescription drugs. And we can do something about this if we work together. That’s what I’ve been trying to do. I’ve cosponsored legislation that would allow lower cost generic drugs to come to the market faster. To allow the re-importation of safe affordable drugs from Canada and other countries. And most important, to allow Medicare to negotiate with the big pharmaceutical companies to lower the price of prescription drugs just like the VA does. I’m also cosponsoring legislation that would address the cost of advertising that the pharmaceutical companies do. Right now they’re allowed a tax deduction for that advertising which means that all consumers are paying for that advertising. That needs to end. That’s not right. My legislation would change that. We can do something about the high cost of drugs if we work together and make sure that we’re committed to doing that. That’s what I intend to do.

Bryant "Corky" Messner
Hi there. Prescription drug prices are far too high. And there’s many things we can do to lower them. You know, President Trump’s executive order to give the United States most favored nation status with respect to prescription drugs is a good first step. I think the other thing is, we gotta negotiate more effectively with the pharmaceutical companies. I think we need to have more competition with the generics to bring the cost of pharmaceuticals down. We’ve gotta restructure the whole distribution system. Too many middle men are scraping dollars off of the top for prescription drug prices. So we gotta have some balance where the pharmaceutical companies have incentive to innovate but at the same time are not overcharging. Thank you.

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?

NH Senate Q5 Long Term Care

Bryant "Corky" Messner:
Hi there. I'm Corky Messner, U.S senate candidate New Hampshire. And we are in difficult times right now. We are in difficult times with the COVID 19 situation. And we know our most vulnerable citizens are our elder people. So we must go to extra lengths to make sure that our senior citizens are protected in the long term care facilities. We've got to make sure there's adequate testing on site. The quick response testing. So that our seniors can have visitors. They're tested on the spot. They can wait. They can get their results and go visit the seniors. And then also the same thing with seniors who need assistance at home. Those caregivers that come to the house need to be tested daily, and so we must get the testing out there and protect our senior citizens in this COVID 19 environment. Thank you.

Jeanne Shaheen:
There is no doubt that long term care facilities have take the brunt of this coronavirus pandemic. Too many people have died. That’s why I’ve worked hard in Washington to get more funding for testing and contact tracing, for personal protective equipment and it’s why I’ve cosponsored legislation to provide an additional twenty billion dollars for long term care facilities so that we can make sure they survive. But we also need more options for people as we age. We need more home and community based services. That’s what I’ve supported in the Senate. We need to support meals on wheels and congregate meals programs. When I was Governor, I got a waiver from Medicaid so that we could retrofit people’s homes to keep them there as they aged, because that’s where seniors want to be. They want to be at home where they’re comfortable. I will continue to fight for those programs and to address the challenges facing our long term care facilities.

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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