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Sanders and Kasich Address Aging Issues at Candidates’ Forum

February 18, 2016

Presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-VT) spoke about the necessity of strengthening the nation’s home and community-based supports system at a February 17 candidate forum on aging issues sponsored by the Leadership Council of Aging Organizations (LCAO).

Asked by an audience member if he would work to expand home and community-based care as a president, Sanders responded that doing so is a “no-brainer.”

“People would prefer to stay in their own homes,” he told the audience via Skype. “It’s what most people would prefer, and we should respect that. It is a civil-rights issue.”

Sanders continued:

As I understand it, it is a lot cheaper to provide caregiving in somebody’s home than to institutionalize that person. So you can save substantial sums of Medicaid money [and] other programs’ money. Clearly we should be doing everything that we can to provide resources to keep people in their own home.

All of the remaining presidential candidates were invited to speak at the forum, officially dubbed Seniors Decide 2016. LCAO described it as the only 2016 campaign event devoted exclusively to issues relevant to elders.

Sanders was the only candidate who appeared on his own behalf at the forum, which was held at George Mason University in Arlington, Va.

Gov. John Kasich (R-OH) was represented at the forum by former U.S. Rep. Tom Davis (R-VA), who has endorsed Kasich and is serving as the honorary chair of his campaign in Virginia.

Davis noted that Kasich is the only Republican candidate who supported Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act. He also said that, as president, Kasich would reach across the aisle in an attempt to reform Medicare and Social Security to make them more sustainable over the long haul.

The forum was streamed live on the Seniors Decide website. More than 200 groups in 140 different U.S. cities held “watch parties” to stream the event live.

PHI is a member organization of the LCAO.

— by Matthew Ozga

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