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Congressional Candidates Spar Over Medicare

Brian Bilbray, Scott Peters and Lori Saldana, the three participants in KPBS'...

Above: Brian Bilbray, Scott Peters and Lori Saldana, the three participants in KPBS' 52nd Congressional District debate.

Tension is mounting between the two leading Democratic candidates vying to take on Republican Congressman Brian Bilbray in the fight for the 52nd Congressional seat next November.

Tension is mounting between the two leading Democratic candidates vying to take on Republican Congressman Brian Bilbray in the fight for the 52nd Congressional seat next November.

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One issue the Democrats are sparring over is how they would protect Medicare.

Former state Assemblywoman Lori Saldaña says preserving Medicare and Social Security is in her top tier of priorities.

"Because the way families most often fall into bankruptcy is unpaid medical bills and one of the things that I am working on is protecting the middle class," she said.

Saldaña accuses former San Diego City Councilman and current Port Commissioner Scott Peters of saying on a local television station that everyone has to give up something, including seniors.

"They asked how he would handle the deficit and they questioned specifically Medicare and the Social Security fund and he said, 'yes everything is on the table,'" she said.

Peters counters that he has a stronger record than Saldaña of preserving benefits.

"I am the candidate with the strongest record of fighting for people’s benefits that they have earned, and if you recall we had Mike Aguirre as city attorney and he sued to try to take away benefits that people had earned at the city over a lifetime of work, and I'm the one who stood up to that, and that’s what I’ll do in Washington," Peters said.

He said Medicare can be preserved by cutting administrative costs and renegotiating prescription drug contracts.

Democrats hope to oust incumbent Brian Bilbray in November. The top Democratic vote getter will likely face Bilbray for the 52nd district seat.

The top two candidates in the June Open Primary will go on to the November election

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