Exclusive: Seniors Concerned About ObamaCare Have Alternative to AARP Membership
by THE EDITORS
August 20, 2009
Americans are up in arms about the government’s attempted takeover of health care, and no group seems to be more energized than senior citizens – which makes sense, as those nearing the end of their lives often need more health care than those in their younger years, and would be the ones most likely to suffer when care is rationed under government strictures.
The AARP’s official stance on ObamaCare is hard to pin down. Obama made the claim that the senior advocacy group is “on board” with the White House-backed plan. The AARP denies any endorsement, yet one should note that they have not come out against the measure either.
AARP members are concerned – and perhaps rightly so when one considers that the AARP joined forces with the SEIU (Service Employee International Union) to launch a multi-million dollar promotional campaign called “Divided We Fail,” which seems to endorse some kind of universal healthcare. The SEIU, by the way, is “solidly behind the President’s health reform plans including the public insurance ‘option.’” If the AARP hasn’t made up its mind, why muddy the waters by partnering with a group that is gung-ho for socialized medicine?
And then there was that AARP member meeting in Dallas earlier this month, where the organization’s representatives pulled the plug – literally – on the proceedings when members vocally expressed their dissatisfaction with ObamaCare’s provisions.
This isn’t the first time the AARP waded into the murky waters of health care reform. During the Clinton administration, they angered both their conservative and liberal members:
AARP also has big political problems with its members, who are far more likely than retirees as a whole to be affluent, white, and Republican. The ardent support wielded by AARP's Washington staff for the Clinton health care plan caused deep resentment among such members, as has its support for a litany of liberal causes, including opposition to Clarence Thomas' nomination. At the same time, many left-leaning members resent the AARP's opposition to a single-payer health care system, which AARP headquarters finds objectionable presumably because of the threat it would pose to its mail-order pharmaceutical business. The lesson the AARP's business side has taken from these circumstances is that the AARP loses business every time it takes a strong political position, and so the group's chief lobbyist, John Rother, is under increasing pressure to pull his punches and keep a low profile.
Perhaps the question should be, does the AARP represent its membership or itself?
What’s a wary senior to do?
For those seniors who no longer wish to support an organization that they believe does not represent their interests (and thus far, 60,000 seniors have cancelled their AARP memberships), there are other options available. One of those options is the American Seniors Association, a group that is emphatic in its opposition to ObamaCare and is hoping to capitalize on member dissatisfaction with the AARP:
The American Seniors Association invites any American Association of Retired Persons member to mail us your torn AARP card and receive a 2 year- for- 1 year membership with ASA. Our organization representing hundreds of thousands of members believes we need health care reform, but we want what is best for seniors. ASA wants to cut wasteful spending in Medicare. ASA wants to see the Congress work to curb frivolous lawsuits that drive up the costs of doctor's malpractice insurance. Our system needs an overhaul, but we do not need expensive Obamacare or anything resembling it."
It’s a personal decision – but it’s nice to know that there’s more than just one horse available in the livery stable.