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Health, Financial Security Top Concerns for Older Voters

More than half of older Mainers are concerned they won't be able to afford the health care they need, a new AARP survey shows. (pexels)
More than half of older Mainers are concerned they won't be able to afford the health care they need, a new AARP survey shows. (pexels)
September 6, 2018

AUGUSTA, Maine – Maine's most active voters want political candidates to address their concerns about health care and retirement security, according to a new survey from AARP.

Older Americans are more likely to go to the polls than younger voters, and the survey shows they will hold candidates in this year's midterm election accountable on issues that matter to them and their families.

According to Lori Parham, state director of AARP Maine, at the top of older Americans’ list is preserving their ability to stay healthy and active.

"Ensuring that there is adequate and affordable health care as well as lowering health care costs really is a key issue, not only for people 65 and older but for voters 50-plus as well," she states.

The survey shows 97 percent want Congress to take steps to ensure that Medicare can continue to cover hospital benefits beyond 2029.

Of those surveyed, 90 percent said that financial security in retirement is very important.

Parham points out that one-third of Mainers over 65 on Social Security have no other source of income.

"That's just over $1,000 a month, and that just doesn't get you very far to cover health care costs, heating costs, food and other housing needs," she points out.

The survey shows that two-thirds of older Mainers are worried that prices are rising faster than their income, and almost 40 percent fear that they won't be able to afford to retire when they want.

Parham adds that beginning this month AARP is holding voter engagement community conversations across the state.

"Maine is the oldest state, and we need leadership around issues impacting older Mainers especially around being able to stay at home and in the communities that they love," she stresses.

AARP does not endorse any candidates, but the organization will be co-sponsoring televised debates with the gubernatorial and U.S. Senate candidates in October and November.

Andrea Sears, Public News Service - ME