< Return to Previous Page

The 2016 Candidates on Social Security and Medicare

2016 Candidates

By Tom Lowrey, Education Assistant

As of this publishing, there are still six horses in the 2016 Presidential race. The following are quotations from the candidates and their campaigns. The quotes are taken from candidate websites and interviews. Many quotes have been abridged in the interest of space.

Hillary Clinton “Now, I will also defend Social Security and Medicare from efforts to privatize both of them. When I was in the Senate, George Bush came up with a privatization plan. Some of you might remember that. It would have been a disaster. And we defeated it. As your president, I will defend Social Security. I will not let anybody think that they can privatize it. But we’re going to have to make sure that we shore it up so that it is there not just for those who are currently recipients but for generations to come.”

Ted Cruz  “We must save Medicare by gradually increasing the eligibility age and by moving to a premium support system that expands choices for seniors, opens up innovation, and utilizes market forces to rein in healthcare costs. For seniors receiving Social Security or near Social Security, there should be no changes in benefits whatsoever. For younger workers, we need to do three fundamental reforms. Gradually increase the retirement age. Social Security benefits right now grow about 1% greater than inflation; we should have those benefits grow at the rate of inflation, not 1% more. Third change that I think is absolutely critical is to allow taxpayers to have a portion of the Social Security funds go to a personal account that they own and control.”

John Kasich  “We’ve let Social Security deteriorate to where more 18-year-olds believe they stand a better chance of seeing a UFO in their lifetime than a Social Security check.” Kasich has proposed establishing Personal Retirement Savings Accounts. These accounts would provide individuals with several options for investing and would not be a substitute for Social Security, but rather an enhancement to the program that would use a portion of the surplus to fund each new account.

“Vote to pass a bill that would reduce the percentage of Social Security benefits that is taxable from 85 to 50 percent for single taxpayers with incomes over $25,000 and married couples with incomes over $32,000. The revenues that would be lost for the Medicare trust fund would be replaced by money from the general fund.”

“The cost of entitlement programs like Medicaid and Medicare are growing uncontrollably and must be fundamentally reformed to reduce their growth rates and become more efficient while still providing the services that Americans want and need.”

Marco Rubio  As President, Marco will protect Social Security and Medicare by:

  • Making no changes for those in or near retirement
  • Defending Medicare and Medicare Advantage for current seniors
  • These programs won’t be around for future generations unless something is done to reform them, however. For future retirees, Marco will:
    • Gradually increase the retirement age for future retirees, to keep up with changes in life expectancy.
    • Reduce the growth in benefits for upper-income seniors while strengthening the program for low-income seniors.
    • Transition Medicare to a premium-support system, which would give seniors a generous but fixed amount with which to purchase health coverage, either from Medicare or a private provider.

Bernie Sanders “Social Security is the most successful government program in our nation’s history. Before it was signed into law, nearly half of senior citizens lived in poverty. Today, the elderly poverty rate is 10 percent. Today, Social Security is more important than ever. More than a third of senior citizens depend on Social Security for virtually all of their income. One out of every five senior citizens is trying to scrape by on an average income of just $8,300 a year. Given these facts, our job cannot be to cut Social Security. Our job must be to expand it so that every American can retire with dignity and respect.”

Bernie has always believed that healthcare is a human right and should be guaranteed to all Americans regardless of wealth or income. He prizes the health and wellness of individuals over corporate profits. Additionally, he supports future legislation to curb drug costs and tackle fraud in the industry. Altogether, universal healthcare serves as a strong foundation for his policy goals. We must expand “Medicare for All” by creating a single-payer health-care system for every American. Many countries have proven that a single-payer system can work–it’s time for the US to join that list.

Donald Trump “I would be willing to say I will not get Social Security. As a policy, I would leave it up to the people. Don’t forget they pay in, and maybe they do well, and maybe some people want it. But the fact is that there are people that truly don’t need it, and there are many that do need it very, very badly.”

“Social Security faces a problem: 77 million baby boomers set to retire. Now I know there are some Republicans who would be just fine with allowing these programs to wither and die on the vine. The way they see it, Social Security and Medicare are wasteful ‘entitlement programs.’ But people who think this way need to rethink their position. It’s not unreasonable for people who paid into a system for decades to expect to get their money’s worth—that’s not an ‘entitlement,’ that’s honoring a deal. We as a society must also make an ironclad commitment to providing a safety net for those who can’t make one for themselves.

Speaking to MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” the New York real estate mogul said he is in full support of Medicare. “Abolishing Medicare, I don’t think you’ll get away with that one. It’s actually a program that’s worked. It’s a program that some people love, actually.”