In 2003, the Medicare Modernization Act was passed. Among other things, it included the establishment of Medicare Advantage plans, essentially allowing private insurers to get their fingers into the Medicare pie at tremendous taxpayer cost. Because AARP supported this nasty legislation, we canceled our membership in the organization. We demanded (and received) a pro-rated refund of our membership dues. Well, it seems that AARP is at it again – ready to sell out its members on the issues of Social Security and Medicare.
The duplicitous nature of this sellout is particularly revolting. While conducting a “listening tour” called “You’ve Earned a Say and We’re Listening,” AARP representatives will visit communities across the country, inviting members to share their views about the debate on the future of Social Security and Medicare. However, behind the scenes, AARP CEO Barry Rand has issued an invitation of quite another sort – to a secret “Relaxed and Robust Evening of ‘Salon Style’ Conversation” planned for March 27. It will be the eighth such meeting in the last three years.
This closed door meeting at a lobbyist’s home on Capitol Hill will include inside the Beltway movers and shakers who favor cuts to those two programs so important to senior citizens. According to the Huffington Post, the list includes “Tom Donohue of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, John Engler of the Business Roundtable group for corporate CEOs, and David Walker, a noted deficit alarmist and former head of the Government Accountability Office,” among others.
The AARP defends its duplicity by claiming it’s “interested in hearing from all sides and having civil discourse on these issues.” Talk about disingenuous. As an alleged advocacy group for senior citizens, AARP should stand firmly on the side of those it purports to represent and oppose cuts to Social Security and Medicare. But it is easy to understand why that is not the case when we recognize that AARP is in the business of selling all sorts of insurance as well as other financial products. No wonder its priorities are blurred.
It’s time for the generation of seniors who burned their draft cards in the 1960s to burn their AARP cards today, like we did nine years ago. Consider affiliating with other organizations such as the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare which advocates for the senior population.