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Senate Candidates Offer Different Prescriptions For Medicare

Josh James

U.S. Senate candidates Jim Gray and Rand Paul are offering two different approaches to fixing Medicare. The divide was evident Friday during a Gray roundtable at a senior living community in Lexington.

While it’s clear Gray and Paul differ on solutions to Medicare funding, they also appear to disagree about the severity of the problem.  During a GOP presidential debate on CNBC last October, Kentucky’s junior senator said the government program has become unsustainable.

"The main problem in Medicare right now is that the average person pays in taxes over their whole lifetime about $100,000, but the average person takes out about $350,000," he told the audience. "We have this enormous mismatch because we have smaller and smaller families."

Paul added that politicians who won’t consider raising the eligibility age aren’t serious about the solving the problem. Speaking with reporters at The Lafayette Friday, Gray said the current age – 65 –  is appropriate and pledged to fight special interests he says are driving up costs.

"There's plenty of money in the system to work through these problems and... that's something that I learned from Toyota and the Toyota production system," he said. "You've got to work the costs out of the system, but that doesn't mean taking away the benefits from the citizens."

On his campaign website, the Democrat touts federal health reforms that have extended the solvency of the Medicare Trust Fund by 13 years. Paul maintains wasteful Washington spending is draining the trust fund and seniors would be better served under the congressional health care plan.

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