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AARP’s recent support for Obamacare demonstrates once again the fact that it does not represent the core values of most retired persons. Muted but straight out hostility might be a better description.
In the years ahead, our aging population—those over 50 and therefore eligible for AARP membership—will increase by 30%. In the face of this, AARP leadership is supporting Democrat “healthcare reform.” This proposes to cut 500 billion from the Medicare and Medicare Advantage Programs. But it doesn’t support adding a single doctor or nurse to these programs.
President Obama and his supporters in Congress have publicly promised that these cuts won’t lead to any reduction in benefits, rationing or reduced services. As the saying goes, if you believe this I have a bridge in Brooklyn that I would like to sell you.
This is a clear, direct attack on a federal program that has been crucial to the care of senior citizens in the US. One would think that AARP, which claims to represent those seniors, would raise an alarm. Quite the contrary, this organization has publicly thanked one of the bill’s authors, Representative Henry Waxman, for the bill. Both President Obama and AARP have publicly stated that there will be no cut in benefits, but this is simply impossible and untrue. For example, Mr. Obama has stated he will cut 177 billion dollars from the Medicare Advantage Program. This is a supplemental insurance option for seniors that is highly popular. A recent survey showed 97% of those in this program are happy with the care it provides. Yet the proposed program, which AARP supports, would make deep cuts in this, forcing seniors to either forgo treatment or supplement it even more from their own pockets.
Recently, there has been much publicity about “death panels.” This is an attack upon senior citizens or those who are ill, yet there has been no word of complaint from AARP. Incidentally, AARP is publicly in favor of gun control, amnesty for illegal aliens and retaining the death tax. Now tell me, do a great majority of seniors agree with these three positions?
AARP tells us that they are not endorsing Obamacare, but they’re running ads on FoxNews.com telling people to call their congressmen to get those who oppose healthcare reform (Obamacare) out of the way. One ad shows an ambulance, partly blocked by cars getting in the way, hinting that by “opposing reform now” we are killing people. One doubts if most seniors will buy the lie that AARP is not aggressively for socialized medicine, for it has long been for socializing everything. Recall its support for the Medicare Catastrophic Coverage Act of 1988 which did become law. When seniors found out about this outrageous bill, and that they were paying for a new government bonanza, their protests were so loud that Congress took the unheard step of repealing it the following year.
Let us also remember that AARP bitterly opposed efforts to reform Social Security under Bush four years ago, but now strangely, when Obama offers huge cuts in actual coverage in Medicare and Medicare Advantage, suddenly we hear nothing from them about the bill. This lack of response, we assume, is a tacit endorsement considering the almost hysterical response four years ago. Nor did we hear any response from AARP when President Bill Clinton proposed increasing taxes on Social Security benefits. Instead of opposing this hardship on seniors, AARP remained silent. In fact, it urged approval of a federal budget which would have increased these taxes.
It is about time that taxpayers, especially senior citizens, realized that AARP does not represent the best interest of the people it supposedly serves. Rather consistently and almost without exception, it has enthusiastically supported those forces pushing for more and more taxes, and more and more government control.
Seniors would be well advised to support other groups that really do have their interests at heart.