ALLIANCE FOR RETIRED AMERICANS
FEDERAL CANDIDATES 2006 QUESTIONNAIRE
September 8, 2006
Alliance for Retired Americans
815 16th St. NW, 4th Floor
Washington DC 20006-4104
RE: Federal Candidate Questionnaire
Thank you for sending us your Federal Candidates 2006 Questionnaire. A print-out with my answers and comments is enclosed.
We converted your paper copy to a digital format, which allowed more room for comments. It also will allow us to post the completed questionnaire on our web page, www.jeanhaybright.us, where it will share space with numerous other questionnaires we have completed in this campaign season.
Also on our web page you will find extensive details about my positions on such things as national health care, the stabilization of Social Security, portability of pensions, the effort to do away with punitive Social Security "off-sets" for state employees here in Maine, and various labor issues that relate directly to retirement issues.
I understand your organization endorses candidates. I would be pleased to be considered for such an endorsement, and I would be honored if I were to receive one.
If you need any more information from me, or would like to talk with me before you make a decision, feel free to call. Our Washington DC phone number (which bounces to our campaign headquarters here in Maine) is 202-747-0426.
Jean Hay Bright
How do you plan to involve
retirees and older Americans in your 2006 campaign?
As an older American myself (59 next month), I am finding
that many of my campaign volunteers are of my generation or older.
Please list the contact information for your campaign's older Americans
David Bright, campaign manager 207-234-4224
Medicare and Prescription Drugs
Candidate's Name: Jean Hay Bright
Date: Sept. 8, 2006
- The Department of Veterans Affairs and the Department of Defense
currently have the authority to negotiate for the best prices
on prescription drugs. Would you support giving the Medicare program
similar authority to directly negotiate with drug companies for
The "no price negotiations" part of Medicare Part D was a travesty.
Olympia Snowe voted for that bill, and is now being praised
for wanting to fix what she voted for.
- The Medicare Part D program imposes a minimum 7% lifetime penalty
on monthly premiums for beneficiaries who missed the May 15, 2006
enrollment deadline. Do you favor waiving this penalty once enrolment
begins again on November 15, 2006?
This should never have been part of this bill
- Would you support eliminating or shrinking the "doughnut hole,"
the gap in coverage inside which beneficiaries receive no insurance
If we had drug price negotiations, this gap could be greatly
reduced or even eliminated. Also, the fact that it is one sized
"hole," and not graduated based on income, is another failing
of this provision.
- Would you support legalizing the safe re-importation of drugs
from Canada or other nations, if the drugs and facilities where
they are manufactured are approved by the Food and Drug Administration?
Of course, if we negotiated drug prices like Canada and other
countries already do, this would not be an issue.
- Would you support a requirement that Medicare offer its own
prescription drug benefit, one that reduces costs for enrollees
and minimizes confusion?
The real solution is National Health Care
- Would you support efforts to repeal the means testing of Part
B Medicare premiums as mandated by the Medicare Prescription Drug
and Modernization Act of 2003?
I believe in progressive income taxes, and this follows along
with that thinking. Maybe if the "premiums" were tied into income
taxes, it would be viewed differently. As for seniors opting
out of the program for cheaper private insurance, under a national
health care program, everyone would be covered, and there would
be no opting out.
- Do you support measures to privatize Social Security by diverting
a portion of individual payroll taxes into private investment
NO Comment: Private
accounts should be encouraged as retirement savings IN ADDITION
to Social security, not in place of it. And funding for those
private accounts should not come out of the FICA taxes.
- Do you support measures that would reduce the guaranteed benefits
under current law?
- Do you favor allowing younger workers to invest some of their
Social Security taxes in private accounts?
- Should Social Security benefits be "means tested," that is,
benefits are reduced according to a beneficiary's other income?
Social Security is an income insurance plan, not a retirement
savings plan. After a generous baseline, I think it is appropriate
to think about means testing this income. On the other hand,
I don't think Social Security checks should be cut back starting
at such low levels as they are now when someone continues working
Long Term Care
- Would you support legislation that would require health care
professionals to report quality and safety problems affecting
patients and protect whistleblowers from retaliation by their
- Would you support uniform, national standards assuring the
quality of care and protection of rights for nursing home residents
and recipients of community-based long term care services who
are Medicare or Medicaid beneficiaries?
Pensions and Retirement Security
- Would you support measures to protect the retirement savings
of workers who participate in 401(k)s by providing them with a
broad right to sell company stock in their accounts?
- Would you support measures to assure worker and retiree participation
in the administration of 401(k) and other retirement savings plans?
- Would you support measures to encourage the creation and expansion
of defined benefit pension plans?
NO Comment: I
am concerned about the number of such plans that disappear when
a company goes bankrupt. Also, defined benefit plans assume
longevity in one workplace, and that is not the current reality.
I think portability of pensions is critical, as people go from
job to job, and I will work to stabilize that situation for
- Would you support proposals that give retiree health benefits
a higher priority in bankruptcy proceedings in order to preserve
Although, a national health care plan will solve this problem.
Budget and Taxes
- Do you favor making permanent the 2001 and 2003 federal tax
cuts, which disproportionately benefit the wealthiest Americans
and threaten the financial stability of the Social Security and
Medicare Trust Funds?
These tax cuts for the rich are a travesty, and need to be rescinded
as soon as possible.
- Would you vote in favor of a federal budget that cuts taxes
for the wealthiest Americans while raising Medicare premiums for
- Do you favor tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans even if
those cuts would require further raising the statutory national
That's not only silly, it's dangerous. And yes, I know that's
the current situation. It's silly, and dangerous.
- Do you support the repeal of the federal estate tax?
NO Comment: Money
is taxed when it changes hands. Estate taxes work the same way,
with the same concept as income taxes - a generous deduction/exemption
limit, then taxes on everything above that.
Address: 4262 Kennebec Rd, Dixmont ME 04932
Office Sought: U.S. Senate
Signature: Jean Hay Bright
Web Site: www.JeanHayBright.us
Campaign contact: David Bright, email@example.com