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In 2020, Bolduc advocated for cutting $1.2 trillion for Medicare and in 2022 he called for “getting government out” of Medicare.
In 2022, Bolduc advocated that future retirees transition from Social Security to private savings accounts.
In September, Bolduc’s campaign said he no longer supports privatizing either program, though his comments the next month indicate he'd be willing to work toward doing so for Social Security.
Aiming to retain her congressional seat and keep Democrats in control of the Senate, Sen. Maggie Hassan, D-N.H., attacked her Republican opponent over two venerable safety net programs.
"Don Bolduc wants to cut trillions from Medicare and end Social Security. That’s not what New Hampshire needs," reads the text of a Hassan ad on Facebook and Instagram.
Hassan made a similar attack against Bolduc, a retired U.S. Army brigadier general, in other ads that include video clips of him saying "$1.2 trillion from Medicare, $2 trillion from Social Security."
Hassan’s attack rests on Bolduc’s comments since 2020 about both programs. But Bolduc has retreated from some of his farthest-reaching proposals.
In one TV ad released Oct. 28, Bolduc gives qualified support to the programs, saying he won’t cut Social Security and Medicare "for older Americans."
The Nov. 8 contest could help determine which party controls the Senate, which is now split 50-50. Former President Donald Trump endorsed Bolduc on Oct. 31.
To back this part of its claim, Hassan’s campaign cited comments Bolduc made in 2020 about his plan to reduce federal spending over a decade.
Bolduc, who sought the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate in New Hampshire in 2020, told the Hillsborough County (N.H.) Republican Committee in May 2020 that one of his priorities would be reducing federal spending. Bolduc said he had a plan to reduce spending by $10.8 trillion over the following 10 years, including "$1.2 trillion from Medicare, $2 trillion from Social Security" and $4 trillion from Medicaid.
He did not detail how he would make those cuts.
Bolduc continued to call for big Medicare changes during his 2022 campaign. At an August town hall, Bolduc responded to a nurse’s Medicare and Medicaid question by saying, "The privatization is hugely important. Getting government out of it, getting government money with strings attached out of it."
Politico obtained an audio recording of the town hall for its September report about Bolduc’s Medicare comments. But Bolduc’s campaign told Politico that Bolduc now opposes privatizing Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security.
Bolduc addressed his August comments in two subsequent interviews.
Bolduc told WMUR-TV that he "never said privatize Medicare," even though Bolduc did say that. "I said we need to look at solutions that make Medicare more patient-responsive."
In a radio interview, Bolduc was more vague, saying he would "invest in a solid Medicare program" that puts people, not the government, "in charge of their health care."
Bolduc talked about transitioning out of Social Security in the same May 2020 virtual meeting with local Republicans.
Bolduc proposed phasing in a new system for young people.
"We could build a flexible universal savings program for the younger generation that they take with them everywhere they go that has special protections, and that becomes theirs. And over time, we no longer have Social Security, we just have a different system that's able to take the place of Social Security over time."
Some conservatives have pushed for turning Social Security into a system in which workers invest at least some of their money to provide for retirement. Currently, Social Security benefits for today’s recipients come from the proceeds of payroll taxes paid by current workers.
Bolduc made similar comments to other local GOP committees in 2020. He said at one forum, "Our younger people need a completely different program, like universal savings accounts." At another event, he said, "For the younger generation, we have to come up with a universal savings account that allows them to save in a different way than we saved," and allowing some middle-aged people to opt out of Social Security.
According to audio and video clips cited by Hassan’s campaign, a man at one event asked how Bolduc would ensure that the man would receive his full Social Security benefits. Bolduc said "we need to invest in Social Security" for current recipients and those soon to be receiving Social Security, but for people who are now roughly 45 or 50 years or old or younger, "we’re going to develop a new program for you ... because Social Security right now is not going to work for us."
Bolduc also spoke about privatizing Social Security on Oct. 10, 2022, in an audio recording obtained by the New Hampshire Union Leader newspaper.
"We've got a lot of work to do to protect it, get the money back into it and making sure nobody messes with it," Bolduc said of Social Security.
Bolduc was then asked, "Do you think you could work with some senators to find a way to start the private investment accounts?" Bolduc answered, "That's right, yeah."
The Bolduc campaign denied to the newspaper that Bolduc had endorsed privatizing Social Security, calling it a "false attack" by Hassan.
In the September radio interview, Bolduc said, "I’m not promoting privatization. What I want is responsibility in the government program that exists now, look at something different for our younger generation, work with them to figure out what it is."
Bolduc told WMUR in September about his May 2020 comments: "We have to look at what is going to be better for the younger generation. How do they want to invest their money?"
Hassan said Bolduc "wants to cut trillions from Medicare and end Social Security."
In 2020, Bolduc advocated for cutting $1.2 trillion for Medicare and in August 2022 he called for "getting government out" of Medicare. In 2020 and again in October 2022, Bolduc advocated that future retirees transition from Social Security to private savings accounts.
In September, Bolduc’s campaign told Politico that he no longer supports privatizing either program. But his October comments reiterated support for eventually changing Social Security to private investments accounts.
Hassan’s ad exaggerates the trillions Bolduc once said he would take out of Medicare (it’s over $1 trillion), but Bolduc has endorsed gradually ending Social Security by moving future retirees into private investment accounts.
With that clarification, we rate Hassan’s statement Mostly True.
Meta, Maggie Hassan for NH Don Bolduc Medicare Social Security ad, started running Oct. 19, 2022
Email, Maggie Hassan campaign spokesperson Samantha Paisley, Oct. 28, 2022
Email, Maggie Hassan campaign spokesperson Kevin Donohoe, Oct. 30, 2022
Email, Don Bolduc campaign spokesperson Kate Constantini, Oct. 29, 2022
New Hampshire Union Leader, "Hassan attacks Bolduc over Social Security, Medicare," Sept. 22, 2022
Maggie Hassan campaign, "New TV Ad: While Maggie Hassan Is Leading The Fight Against Big Pharma, Don Bolduc Said ‘Hell No’ To Lowering Prescription Drug Costs," Oct. 26, 2022
YouTube, Maggie Hassan "Time to Compare" ad, Oct. 25, 2022
YouTube, Maggie Hassan "Extreme" ad, Sept. 22, 2022
YouTube, NHPolitics Videos "Don Bolduc wants to end Social Security over time" post, Aug. 19, 2022
YouTube, NHPolitics Videos "Bolduc: Over time we no longer have Social Security, 5/27/20 Hillsborough County GOP Committee," Oct. 28, 2022
Politico, "The third rail Republicans can’t stop touching," Sept. 22, 2022
WMUR, "Hassan, Bolduc spar over Medicare, Social Security," Sept. 26, 2022
New Hampshire Union Leader, "Congressional Dems think Social Security will sway voters," Oct. 16, 2022
SoundCloud, "2022.9.23 Don Bolduc on NH Today," Sept. 29, 2022
SoundCloud, New Hampshire Politics "5/18/20 - Hampstead-Kingston GOP Committee Meeting," (53:10) Oct. 29, 2022
Google Drive, Video of Don Bolduc "Winnipesaukee GOP Meeting, 2/24/20," accessed Oct. 29, 2022
YouTube, On the Ground NH "2/24/20 Winnipesaukee GOP Committee Meeting in Wolfeboro," (0:15) Oct. 29, 2022
YouTube, On the Ground NH "5/13/20, Don Bolduc Virtual Town Hall," (36:25) Oct. 29, 2022
YouTube, On the Ground NH "5/27/20, Hillsborough County GOP Committee Virtual Meeting," (2:50; 15:30) Oct. 29, 2022
American Independent, "New Hampshire Senate GOP nominee tries to thread the needle on privatizing Social Security," Sept. 23, 2022
AARP, "Maggie Hassan and Don Bolduc Answer 4 Questions Vital to Voters Age 50+," Oct. 23, 2022
Twitter, Don Bolduc tweet, Oct. 28, 2022
WMUR.com, "Full video: Don Bolduc answers viewer questions on social media," Oct. 24, 2022
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