Last week, the AARP gave Barack Obama his comeuppance by challenging a statement made by the president at a town hall meeting in Portsmouth, N.H.
It was a major embarrassment to the White House, and disingenuous.
Obama, in trying to put down a grass-roots revolt led by senior citizens over his plan to put the nation’s health care under the control of the federal government, said, “We have the AARP on board because they know this is a good deal for our seniors.”
AARP’s chief operating officer, Tom Nelson, quickly fired back, saying, “Indications that we have endorsed any of the major health care reform bills currently under consideration in Congress are inaccurate.”
What kind of an organization can rebuff the president of the United States and come out a winner?
- one with 40 million members;
- one that has the overwhelming confidence of the American people;
- one with enormous political clout;
- one that regularly fools the members it supposedly serves.
While AARP was rebuking the president, it was sending out e-mails to members asking them to forward a message from Barry Jackson, AARP’s online advocacy manager, to try to put down some of what AARP characterized as “myths” and “unfounded rumors” about health reform, such as “rationing.”
Just last month, on July 14, the AARP issued a news release gushing about the introduction of the House health care reform bill, saying: “This bill would make great strides for all of our members and their families.” The group said it was pleased with the legislation for giving “every American access to affordable, quality health care choices.”
This is the same bill that would create a “board of experts” in Washington that would set rules, calibrate fees and use “effectiveness research” to decide what care your doctor can offer you. The AARP did not explicitly say it was endorsing the bill, but there was not a single negative comment in the statement.
This is the very same tactic the AARP used in 1993 in promoting the Clintons’ plan to nationalize health care. John Rother of the AARP served as president of the Health Care Reform Project, a coalition that waged a nationwide campaign to promote Clintoncare, while withholding a formal endorsement until the 11th hour.
As public doubt about Clintoncare grew, the AARP characterized citizens’ legitimate apprehension as “ignorance.” This is all too familiar!
The truth is that the AARP held meetings with the Obama White House early on. You can bet your 401k that the AARP has cut some kind of sweetheart deal with the administration it feels will benefit its bottom line. That is why it has joined the chorus of snake oil salesmen trying to promote the House bill it says it hasn’t endorsed.
I first became suspicious of the AARP when I noticed that this organization was not warning its members on the inherent dangers of signing the advance directives pushed by the government with the passing of the Patient Self Determination Act. In fact, the AARP was promoting advance directives even though they can and have been used to limit the health care one can receive.
The PSDA was slipped into the 1990 budget package as a “cost-cutting” measure for the federal government, which picks up the tab for much of our health care. The PSDA forced hospitals and nursing homes to shove advance directives at patients upon entering, which, in effect, gives these institutions immunity from withholding necessary, ordinary and readily available treatment.
When patients enter hospitals, they are usually in crisis. This is not the time to make life-and-death decisions. However, when patients are given this form along with a dozen other forms, they usually sign them. The implication is they have to sign all forms in order to receive care. This is coercion, pure and simple!
When the PSDA was introduced, I know at least one knowledgeable writer who offered to do an article on the subject for AARP’s magazine, but AARP wasn’t interested. Why would AARP not welcome such an article?
The AARP has a lucrative arrangement with the insurance companies it endorses. It appears that the organization is simply carrying the water for the companies that provide the lion’s share of its revenue. After all, it is a lot less expensive for insurance companies, as it is for the government, to lose patients with serious medical problems than it is to treat them.
The AARP is a wolf in sheep’s clothing!
Friends don’t let friends or loved ones join (or remain in) the AARP. Spread the word!