McCain hides Social Security and Medicare record

McCain fails to address vital programs on campaign website, hopes Arizonans forget his out-of-touch record

 

PHOENIX — John McCain has made it clear he doesn’t want to talk about Social Security and Medicare -- not even on his website.

The 980,000 Arizonans who are enrolled in Medicare and over 1.2 million Arizona seniors who rely on Social Security, following a lifetime of paying into the system, can’t find a single word from John McCain about his past attempts to privatize Social Security which he called a “disgrace,” or his record of consistently voting to turn Medicare into a voucher system.

In contrast, at a time when Social Security increasingly fails to keep up with everyday costs and Social Security leaves the average Arizona enrollee on the hook for an average of nearly $4,000 per year, Ann Kirkpatrick has vowed to expand Social Security benefits and expand Medicare, which earned her an endorsement from the Alliance for Retired Americans earlier this week.

“John McCain is trying to hide his past attempt to privatize Social Security and turn Medicare into a voucher system,” said Arizona Democratic Party Communications Director Enrique Gutierrez. “Rather than offer Arizonans ‘straight talk’ about his real record and positions, McCain has instead shown just how much he’s changed after 33 years in Washington. That’s why Arizonans deserve a principled champion like Ann Kirkpatrick, who will always fight to protect these vital programs.”

 

BACKGROUND

SOCIAL SECURITY

2015: Over 1.2 Million Arizonans Including Nearly 900k Retirees Received Social Security Benefits. [SSA.gov, OASDI Beneficiaries by State & County, 2015]

  • The Gap Between The Social Security Benefits A Typical Arizona Senior Received And The Cost Of Living Reached $3,345. “In 2015, the typical older adult couple in Arizona receives $24,711 annually in Social Security benefits. However, that couple, in good health with no mortgage, will require $28,056 to cover housing, food, health care and other basic expenses. Of approximately 1.3 million Arizona seniors, an estimated 117,806 (9.2%) live in poverty. Another 120,367 (9.4%) live below 150% of the Federal Poverty Level.” [Arizona Department of Economic Security, Profile of Older Arizonans, 2015] (PDF)

AP FACT CHECK: “McCain Has Long Advocated” For Social Security Private Accounts And His Social Security Plan Amounted To “Partial Privatization Of The Social Security System.” “John McCain has long advocated letting workers divert some of their payroll taxes into private accounts. So when he says now that he won't privatize Social Security, that raises eyebrows. But is he flip-flopping? No, not at all. The Republican presidential candidate is playing a game of semantics. He doesn't want to call his plan what is really is a partial privatization of the Social Security system.” [Associated Press, 6/13/08]

  • McCain Said He Supported Bush’s Plan To Allow Funds Be Diverted From Social Security Into Private Accounts. “McCain said he supports Bush's plan to allow workers to divert nearly a third of their Social Security taxes into personal accounts. Although those accounts will not address Social Security's long-term funding problems, he said, they do provide ‘an important link to the future’ by allowing workers to supplement Social Security checks with money earned in the stock and bond markets.” [Washington Post, 3/23/05]

2004: McCain: “Without privatization, I don't see how you can possibly, over time, make sure that young Americans are able to receive Social Security Benefits.” Responding to a question of whether “privatizing Social Security be a priority for you going forward?”  McCain answered, “Without privatization, I don't see how you can possibly, over time, make sure that young Americans are able to receive Social Security benefits.”  [McCain speech, NH via YouTube, 11/18/04]

McCain On Social Security: “We Are Paying Present-Day Retirees With The Taxes Paid By Young Workers In America Today. And That's A Disgrace." "I'd like to start out by giving you a little straight talk. Under the present set-up, because we've mortgaged our children's futures, you will not have Social Security benefits that present-day retirees have unless we fix it. And Americans have got to understand that. Americans have got to understand that we are paying present-day retirees with the taxes paid by young workers in America today. And that's a disgrace. It's an absolute disgrace, and it's got to be fixed." [McCain Town Hall Meeting, Denver, CO, 7/7/08]

  • McCain: “The Principle OF Privatization Of Social Security Is One That I Think Is Absolutely Correct.” McCain: "We are paying present day retirees with the taxes paid by young workers in America today. And that's a disgrace, it's an absolute disgrace and it's got to be fixed." […] MCCAIN: "We need personal savings accounts." MCCAIN: "But I think that the principle of privatization of Social Security is one that I think is absolutely correct." MCCAIN: "And the beauty of private accounts is that it does give added return on investments of taxpayers of Social Security members' money." MCCAIN: "Private savings accounts work. They have been proven to work." [Denver Townhall, 7/7/08; Fox News Debate, 10/27/07; CNN,Evans, Novak, Hunt & Shields, 5/27/00; ABC News This Week With George Stephanopoulos, 3/20/05; Fox News Network, Fox Special Report With Brit Hume, 3/21/05] [LINK]

MEDICARE

May 2016: 982,217 Arizonans Were Enrolled In Original Medicare Or Medicare Advantage And Other Health Plans. [Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), Accessed 6/30/16]

  • The Gap Between The Social Security Benefits A Typical Arizona Senior Received And The Cost Of Living Reached $3,345. “Over 95% [of Arizona seniors] are enrolled in Medicare; however, out-of-pocket costs still average $3,800 per year. [Arizona Department of Economic Security, Profile of Older Arizonans, 2015] (PDF)

2008: McCain’s Proposed Budget Would Raise Medicare Eligibility Age And Require Seniors To Pay Higher Premiums. [Roll Call, 9/11/08]

McCain’s Health Care Plan Includes “Major Reductions” For Medicare And Medicare That Could Have Resulted In $1.3 Trillion In Cuts Over 10 Years. [Wall Street Journal, 10/6/2008]

McCain Repeatedly Voted For The Ryan Budget. [CQ, 3/21/13; S.Amdt. 433 to S.Con.Res. 8, Vote 46, 3/21/13; CQ, 5/16/12, H.Con.Res. 112, Vote 98, 5/16/12; CQ, 5/25/11; H.Con.Res. 34, Vote 77, 5/25/11]

  • Politifact Has Repeatedly Rated Claim That Ryan Budget Would Turn Medicare “Into A Voucher Program” As “Mostly True.”[Politifact Wisconsin, 6/10/16; Politifact, 11/19/13; Politifact New Jersey, 10/5/12; Poliitifact, 8/16/12]

  • CBPP: FY 2014 Ryan Plan “Essentially The Same” As Previous Ryan Plans And Would Replace “Medicare’s Guarantee Of Health Coverage With A Premium-Support Voucher.” [Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, 3/15/13]

  • GOP Budget Revived Controversial Proposal To Convert Medicare Into Voucher System. [Politico, 3/12/13]

  • FY 2013 Ryan Budget Would Turn Medicare Into A Voucher Program. [New York Times, 3/29/12]

  • Wall Street Journal: FY 2012 Ryan Plan “Would Essentially End Medicare.”  [Wall Street Journal, 4/4/11]

  • NPR’s Health Shots: “Key Part” Of FY 2012 Ryan Budget Plan Was “Ending Medicare As We Know It” [NPR, Health Shots,4/04/11]

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