Healthcare, retirement security seen as top issues for older voters, lawmakers say

Concerns over healthcare and retirement security will be top of mind for voters over 50 years old in the upcoming election, lawmakers said Tuesday.

“Every fiber of my being believes retirement security is the biggest issue over the next decade, maybe even longer,” Rep. David SchweikertDavid SchweikertThe Hill’s 12:30 Report – Presented by the Walton Family Foundation – Why Pelosi set a 48-hour deadline for a coronavirus relief deal The Hill’s Morning Report – Sponsored by Goldman Sachs – Tipping point week for Trump, Biden, Congress, voters The Hill’s Morning Report – Sponsored by Facebook – Trump combative, Biden earnest during distanced TV duel MORE (R-Ariz.) said during AARP’s “America’s Most Reliable Voter” event, hosted by The Hill. “It’s more than just the retiree and their benefits, it’s also the cost of Medicare — being the primary driver of future debt — and how do we provide better healthcare and change the cost curve?”

Sen. Bob CaseyRobert (Bob) Patrick Casey Senate Democrats call for ramped up Capitol coronavirus testing The Hill’s 12:30 Report – Presented by the Walton Family Foundation – Why Pelosi set a 48-hour deadline for a coronavirus relief deal The Hill’s Morning Report – Sponsored by Goldman Sachs – Tipping point week for Trump, Biden, Congress, voters MORE (D-Pa.), the ranking member of the Senate special committee on aging, explained that voters over the age of 50 always play a key role in elections, but in this particular presidential race, they “may be the vote that decides the election.” He pointed out that older voters were some of the hardest hit by the coronavirus pandemic, and that the virus has “amplified and greatly enhanced those concerns” regarding their health and financial future.

“We know that people across the board were losing health insurance before the pandemic [and] that number has gone a lot higher,” he said. “That affects people in this age category, as well, and there’s also some longer-term retirement financial security issues at play.”

Sen. Debbie StabenowDeborah (Debbie) Ann StabenowDems to focus on issues, not character, at Barrett hearings Lobbying world GOP super PAC announces million ad buy in Michigan Senate race MORE (D-Mich.) further emphasized how “very real” the threat of lack of accessibility to comprehensive healthcare can be to older voters. 

“Healthcare generally is very critical, but when we talk about whether or not we are going to have a real federal plan that gets our arms around the COVID crisis that has rapid testing, that gets a vaccine safely as soon as possible — I think for older people there’s a greater sense of urgency,” she said at Tuesday’s event.

Stabenow, a ranking member on the Senate finance subcommittee on health care, expressed disappointment regarding Republican attempts to reduce access to healthcare via Affordable Care Act repeal and Medicare restraint, which could take away benefits like coverage of pre-existing conditions.

“I don’t know why it’s a partisan divide, healthcare. To me, healthcare is personal, not political,”

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Energy secretary returns to D.C. after security staffers test positive for coronavirus

Energy Secretary Dan Brouillette will return to Washington, D.C., after two members of his security detail tested positive for the coronavirus.



a man wearing a suit and tie: Energy secretary returns to D.C. after security staffers test positive for coronavirus


© Greg Nash
Energy secretary returns to D.C. after security staffers test positive for coronavirus

Brouillette tested negative and is not showing symptoms but he and his staff will return to the city by car “out of an abundance of caution,” Energy Department spokesperson Shaylyn Hynes said in a statement late Thursday.

Hynes said that Brouillette will follow guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The department did not immediately respond to The Hill’s question about specific precautions the secretary would take.

According to the CDC, people who come into close contact with those who test positive should stay home for 14 days and keep a distance of at least six feet from others at all times.

The Energy secretary was slated to be in Ohio on Friday and be part of a roundtable with industry leaders on the future of energy jobs in the region.

He was also expected to meet with stakeholders regarding a proposed petrochemical complex.

Earlier this week, Brouillette attended an event in Tennessee with Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee (R). A member of Lee’s security detail has also tested positive for the coronavirus.

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