Today, former governor and U.S. Senate candidate Tim Kaine shared his strategies to protect and strengthen Social Security and Medicare programs with Northern Virginia seniors at the Stacy C. Sherwood Community Center in Fairfax. Throughout the morning forum, Kaine contrasted his proposed reforms, which would reduce costs and strengthen Social Security and Medicare, with the partial privatization proposals and increase in retirement age supported by George Allen.
"We can be open to adjustments to strengthen the program, but Social Security is not contributing to the deficit and is not on the verge of insolvency as some might claim," said Kaine. "I will be a senator that will always fight to protect and preserve Social Security and will oppose risky schemes to privatize it."
Kaine also shared his strategies to reduce costs in Medicare without compromising quality of services and possible adjustments that can be made to strengthen Social Security. He laid out his preferred reforms, including an adjustment of the payroll tax cap to keep Social Security solvent and a fix to allow Medicare to negotiate for cheaper prescription drug prices, saving money for seniors and the government. Kaine also pointed to Allen's previous vote as senator to divert Social Security dollars into private accounts, a measure that would have devastated savings during the recent stock market crash.
"During our debate this week, I pointed out that my opponent had been pro-privatization in the Senate and he didn't contest that," said Kaine. "I pointed out that privatization would have been a risky and catastrophic move and he didn't contest that. I will fight to make sure we don't do risky things but instead fight to protect the program."
On the campaign trail, George Allen has praised Congressman Paul Ryan's budget plan that would force more than one million Virginia seniors onto health care vouchers when they retire instead of the benefits guaranteed by traditional Medicare. Studies show this approach could increase seniors' health care costs by nearly $6,000.
"There are two strategies on the table for dealing with Medicare costs," said Kaine. "Do we shift costs onto seniors' shoulders or do we save costs? I'm all for the savings strategy. My opponent has praised the Ryan budget approach which controls the growth of Medicare in the federal budget by pushing costs onto seniors' shoulders. That makes the federal budget document look better but it's not the right way to do it."