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Social Security, Medicare Deciding Election Factors for Older Americans

Article

The election is just three months away and there are certain economic issues that are driving voters to the polls. Older voters are concerned about Social Security and Medicare.

The election is just three months away and there are certain economic issues that are driving voters to the polls. But the key group is non-retired baby boomers between the ages of 50-64. While much of the country is still worried about jobs, they are concerned about Social Security and Medicare — both of which have looming expiration dates.

According to AARP, Medicare and Social Security are going to play large roles for baby boomer voters who are pessimistic about retirement and feel that they’ll have to rely on both of these programs just to retire. And even then, half don’t believe they ever will be able to retire.

“We know the issue of jobs is very important to voters age 50-plus, but any meaningful discussion of the economy and this year’s election has to include the future of Social Security and Medicare,” said Nancy LeaMond, AARP Executive Vice President. “For these voters, ‘retirement security’ and ‘economic security’ are largely the same thing.”

Health expenses were the second biggest issue according to 62% of respondents. Almost half (48%) retired voters worry that health expenses will be unaffordable to them in retirement, according to the AARP, even though these voters have relative security provided by Medicare.

“[Voters age 50 and older] think the next president and Congress need to strengthen Social Security (91%) and Medicare (88%),” according to the AARP report. “They also overwhelmingly (91%) think that these issues are too big for either party to fix alone and require Republicans and Democrats to come together.”

Overwhelmingly, voters think candidates haven’t done a good job explaining plans for Social Security (67%) and Medicare (63%). And across party lines, these voters say more information on a candidate’s plan will help them determine their vote.

“The message from voters 50-plus is clear,” LeaMond said. “In a razor-tight election, candidates have a major opportunity to reach key voters by speaking about their plans on Social Security and Medicare — and they are making a huge gamble if they ignore them.”

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