Senator Cory Gardner (R – CO) held a virtual meeting with approximately 200 Colorado members of the Association of Mature American Citizens – AMAC. AMAC represents over 2.2 million Americans nationally who are age 50 – plus, including over 51,000 residing in the Centennial State.
When AMAC members pressed Gardner on his stand regarding the Senate’s vote on a President Trump nominee for the Supreme Court to replace the late Ruth Bader Ginsburg, he said that he “continues to support justices and judges who are well qualified, who are going to uphold the law, who are going to uphold the Constitution, who are not going to legislate from the bench, and if a nominee is put in front of me that meets those criteria, you bet I’m going to support that nominee.”
Regarding seniors’ concern over the integrity of the forthcoming election, Senator Gardner is confident of the checks and balances in place in Colorado, saying, “we have voter verification, we have signature verification on the mail ballots, it goes through a system if it kicks it out, then a handwriting panel will look at this and make a determination if they have concerns with it, then they’re going to call, so we do have those safeguards in place.” However, he is concerned over voter harvesting laws in other parts of the country like California.
AMAC members also voiced their concern about censorship on social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter. Senator Gardner responded, “I’d be horrified if there were thousands of censors in Washington, D.C. perusing Facebook trying to kick peoples’ comments on and off. I’m terrified by thousands of censors in San Francisco, California, trying to do the same thing. We’ve got to protect speech. If somebody issues an opinion that you disagree with, that is not a censorable occasion. Having a disagreement with someone doesn’t waive the First Amendment protections. We do need to make sure through oversight and the law that we’re not basically saying to 50 percent of the American people that your speech doesn’t count. “
Meeting participants also expressed their serious concern over the impending insolvency of both the Social Security and Medicare programs. Senator Gardner empathized and said, “We’ve got to protect our social safety nets long term. We have to quit borrowing and stop the borrowing against the Social Security Trust Fund, hold that money, and make a few policy changes that would absolutely protect it long term. We need to make sure that we’re protecting these programs. On the Medicare side, it’s going to take some common-sense approaches to reducing costs of healthcare, using new technologies, empowering consumers to make better choices and better decisions, allowing greater use of HSAs. The idea that we can now reimburse for telemedicine I think is important. We know that with this new technology we can do some of these things at home that we never even thought possible, and that will drive down the costs that Medicare is sharing right now.”
When asked what can be done about the high cost of prescription drugs, particularly for seniors, Senator Gardner said, “Well, obviously more competition is better, and the more competition we have in the space of pharmaceuticals, the more we’re going to drive down costs. The more we can help with policies that create that competition, the better. The more we can have the production costs driven down, the better.”
Senator Gardner also cited a bill that he is working on that would stop the abuse of the petition process drug companies use to prevent drugs from becoming generic. The bill’s aim is to help build a robust pipeline of low-cost generic drugs and reduce medication expenses for seniors.
Andrew Mangione is Senior Vice President for AMAC’s advocacy affiliate, AMAC Action. He leads AMAC’s grassroots efforts, represents AMAC’s membership in Washington, D.C., and helps chart the association’s policy course. He also serves as a national spokesperson.