Paul says more retirees and debt might force Medicare premiums to rise

09/23/2010 05:46 PM

LOUISVILLE — What seniors pay for Medicare could have to increase in order to take pressure off of the federal budget and help alleviate the government’s long term debt, Republican U.S. Senate candidate Rand Paul acknowledged Thursday.

Paul, while answering reporters questions at a news conference, said the current budget problems facing programs like Medicare and Social Security are not the fault of any one candidate or party. But steps will need to be taken in order to save the programs, he said.

He said he’s waiting to see the recommendations in December from a bipartisan task force on the nation’s debt. But said, if elected in November, he expects to weigh in on those suggestions.

Paul has previously said he believes the retirement age will have to gradually increase to 67 for retirees to be eligible for Social Security.

His comments about changes to Medicare come as Republican groups have been airing ads criticizing his Democratic opponent Jack Conway for voicing support for the health care law Congress approved six months ago. Among the claims in several of the commercials is that health care bill cuts Medicare by $500 billion — a reference to a specific provision that allows seniors on Medicare to buy into private health insurance coverage.

Earlier Thursday, Paul said in a radio interview that individuals may have to share more of a burden in order to receive benefits from the Medicare program.

When asked to expand on his, Paul said it could range from higher premiums or higher co-pays, but that the ultimate decision would come down to the bipartisan commission. Here’s what he said:

Paul made the comments at a news conference in Louisville to announce the endorsement of the National Federation of Independent Business. Earlier this month, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce endorsed Paul. Here’s what Tom Underwood, state director of the federation, had to say about Paul Thursday:

- Reporting and video produced by Kenny Colston


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