Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

April 7, 2013

Public Eye - April 7, 2013

By Scott Smith and Ken de la Bastide
Tribune staff writers

— the new age limit

U.S. Rep. Todd Rokita, R-4th District, said during a recent visit to Kokomo that the three big drivers of the national debt crisis are Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.

Rokita said reforms to Social Security are not as pressing as for Medicare and Medicaid.

“If we tackle Medicare and Medicaid, we buy ourselves some time,” he said. “We need to bring the message home to more and more Americans if we don’t do it now, instead of later, we’re going to have fewer choices.”

Rokita said the eligibility age for Medicare may have to be raised from 65 to as high as 78 in the future because Americans are living longer. He said the increase in age eligibility should be gradual, done by a few months at a time.

“If you’re a couple that made $85,000 per year, you paid in 40 percent of the total benefits you will receive,” he said. “Where with Social Security you’ve paid in 90 percent of the benefit.”

Rokita supports the premium option choice for Medicare which will ensure no one can be denied a plan, but each person gets to choose a coverage level. Under similar Republican-backed plans, the government would give seniors vouchers to cover some of the cost of purchasing an insurance plan.

“If you select the Cadillac plan, you will pay more,” he said. “The reason it will help solve the debt problem is the government will know what it has to spend for each person in the program.”

“It turns it back into an insurance program; make sure you get health care in our old age,” Rokita said. “For the richer of us, maybe receive not as much government assistance.”

Looking to 2014

Although the 2014 election season is almost a year away there is already speculation within the Republican Party as to who might be running for state offices.

Current Indiana Treasurer Richard Mourdock might challenge incumbent Larry Bucshon in the 8th Congressional District, which covers southwestern Indiana.

The conservative Club for Growth, headed by former Congressman Chris Chocola, has targeted Bucshon for defeat, but GOP leadership may be less than excited about Mourdock being on the 2014 ticket. Mourdock is also considering running for Indiana State Auditor.

Mourdock was criticized for comments he made in a 2012 debate against Donnelly concerning rape.

Current State Auditor Tim Berry is believed to be considering returning to the State Treasurer’s office. Berry could be challenged by Marion Mayor Wayne Seybold, who lost a bid for the 5th Congressional District seat last year.

Seybold confirmed during the annual Lincoln-Reagan Day Dinner that he has started the campaign for the treasurer nomination.

“Several people have indicated I’m starting early,” he said of the campaign. “But when I decided to run for Congress, there were only 80 days until the primary. That didn’t work out too well.”

The treasurer and auditor nominations will be determined at the Indiana GOP state convention in June, 2014.

Mayor’s Night In

Kokomo Mayor Greg Goodnight will be available to meet with the public from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesday at Council Chambers, City Hall, 100 S. Union St.

Anyone can come to ask questions of the mayor concerning the city. Goodnight hosts similar Mayor’s Night In events throughout the year in different locations, as a way to give the public a chance to air concerns.

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