Warren: Cut Healthcare Costs, Focus on Jobs and Education [Live Chat Recap]

U.S. Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren joined us live on July 13 to answer your questions. Here's a short recap of the Q&A session.

U.S. Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren joined us for a live chat with Patch readers yesterday. Many of the questions submitted were about her position on healthcare, job creation and the affordability of higher education.

Check out the following short recap, or browse through the

On her heritage

Patch: The first question came from a reader in Lynnfield. "Although there is a relatively small number of Mass. voters of Native American descent, do you feel you have addressed their concerns about your own statements involving your heritage?"

Elizabeth Warren: Growing up, my mother and grandparents often talked about our family's Native American heritage. As a kid, I never asked them for documentation—what kid would?

But growing up, I knew that my parents had been very much in love, but that my father's family said they couldn't get married because my mother was part Cherokee and part Delaware. So they eloped. We grew up with this all our lives. 

I never asked for—and never got—any benefit in school or in jobs. The people who hired me have said that they didn't even know about it when they recruited me—and it played no role in my hiring. 

So there it is. 

On Healthcare

From Dennis Naughton: "I am a senior citizen and am very concerned about the future of Medicare. Senator Brown has made it clear that he supports the Republican ideas that would tend to privatize the system. I oppose that idea, especially given the collapse of the economy and what it did to 401ks. What is your position on the future of Medicare."

Elizabeth Warren: I disagree with Republicans who want to privatize Medicare. Cutting Medicare won't keep people from having heart attacks or developing diabetes. In other words, people will still get sick and they will still need care. Pushing the costs of their care on families or emergency rooms doesn't change the basic calculation, and it certainly won't cut overall health care costs. 

The real issue is the rising cost of health care that is squeezing families. We need to work on cutting health care costs. The Affordable Care Act begins the process, but we need to do more to improve quality while reducing overall costs. 

If I can put in a plug for our local folks, some of the best research in the country and some of the most exciting innovations in health care delivery are happening right here in Massachusetts. We should support this work--that's how we move forward.

On Jobs

From Johnny: "What job programs do you support to aleviate unemployment? Would you be in favor of lowering capital gains to make it more appealing for companies to have business here?"

Elizabeth Warren: Last fall Scott Brown and all the Republicans voted to block three jobs bills in a row. We had nearly a quarter of a million people unemployed here in Massachusetts. The first jobs bill would have supported about 22,000 jobs here in MA, the second would have prevented layoffs of teachers, firefighters and police all across the Commonwealth, and the third would have supported nearly 11,000 jobs mostly in construction in transportation. 

These jobs bills could have made a real difference in the lives of thousands of families and helped our economy recover faster. I support any and all of them.

On Education

From Karl Johnson: I'm a school committee member from Dover. I know you're a supporter of holding the line on college interest rates. While this is an admirable band aid to nominally mitigate student debt burdens it doesn't address the underlying need for reducing the out of control growth in college and university tuition costs vs. household income growth. What would you do to encourage and/or force structural changes in the college/university cost structure to truly make higher education affordable to middle and upper middle class families? 

Elizabeth Warren: College costs have gone through the roof. A young person today going to a state university will pay (adjusted for inflation) more than 350% of what a student would have paid thirty years ago. Investment in public universities has declined, and that has forced more costs onto the students. 

Universities and students are trying hard to make progress and changes. They are trying to save money, improve graduation rates, and improve job placement rates. They are working hard to innovate. I recently visited Bunker Hill Community College. Classes start at BHCC at 7:00 AM and the last class STARTS at 11:45 PM. The students, teachers and the school are struggling to use their facilities to their fullest extent so that they can deliver a quality education to as many people as possible. 

We need to support students who are trying to get an education--and that means supporting the schools that are trying to educate them.

Those are just a few of the questions Warren answered during our 45 minute live chat. You can read the . 

Anne July 17, 2012 at 11:43 AM
Regarding Brown and his co-sponsorship of the Blunt Amendment: The Blunt Amendment doesn't just apply to women. It would have allowed any insurer and/or employer to deny coverage for any service based on a "moral conviction". As I said earlier, that's a slippery slope that can be used to deny men and women health coverage. Carol Keehan, the president and CEO of Catholic Health Association, said that President Obama’s compromise approach “protects the religious liberty and conscience rights of Catholic institutions.’’ This amendment wasn't about the Catholic Church. It was another example of the Republican Party appeasing the far right by further restricting women's reproductive rights as well and denying health coverage to both men and women. Women pay the same amount or more for their health premiums. It is not a "handout" to expect that we can get our prescriptions filled. FindBalance - $10 is a co-pay rate (and a low one at that) - not the amount women pay if they are denied coverage. Women also expect to be paid the same rate as their male counterparts when performing the same job. Again, not a handout. Scott Brown voted against equal pay for women.
FindBalance July 17, 2012 at 01:48 PM
Hi Anne - It is not up to the govt to mandate that someone provide a particular service - if you want that service, find a provider that will provide it to you, and meet their criteria. Govt involvement is the easy road, but leads to more govt control and you become more dependent on govt. Since health insurance doesn't pay for condoms, is that a war on men. Condoms help prevent the spread of AIDS, so then wouldn't that be a war on people? Take responsibility into your own hands and don't rely on govt intrusion. RE Women's salaries for doing "the same job". Again, if you are a women and think you aren't getting the same salary as a man doing the same job, don't rely on govt intervention, go find another company that values you at the rate you believe for your ability. That's what men do when they are passed over for promotions and/or feel they are not being compensated as well for doing "the same job" as a co-worker. And I question what "the same job" is - there are so many other factors that have greater influence over compensation than just male/female - like how well the job is done, what is the dedication to the job, are you willing to put more time in on a consistent basis to do more in a particluar position? If a woman is truly superior to man in these regards, then make the case to your employer, and if they don't listen, go find another employer who values you to the degree you believe you deserve. That's what a job market is all about.
Joe Kane July 17, 2012 at 04:12 PM
Keep drinking the Coolaid Dave. The rest of us with objective minds are moving on!
FindBalance July 17, 2012 at 04:14 PM
David - I am not a third party in this scenario, I am a juror, and I have seen enough evidence to convict both EW and Harvard. To you, this seems not to be enough evidence, I guess we will have to agree to disagree.
David Nolta July 17, 2012 at 10:10 PM
Yes, FindBalance--I agree with that!


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