AARP goes to nice lengths to keep up its public picture as a politically unaffiliated senior advocacy group. Nevertheless, a fast peak behind the scenes makes it clear this picture is basically a mirage.
For years, the group nurtured this notion, which helps the group skim by supporting polarizing coverage proposals with little to no criticism. It’s time we handle the reality about AARP and the battle of curiosity that emerges from its false “objectivity.” Seniors deserve genuine advocacy, not advocates in title solely.
A latest instance of the disconnect between AARP’s picture and actuality was the group’s “get-out-the-vote” push earlier than the midterm elections. Such a marketing campaign helps domesticate the group’s unbiased repute, however upon nearer inspection of AARP’s political positions, its need for seniors to vote Democratic turns into wholly unambiguous.
AARP was one of many chief advocacy teams in favor of the just lately enacted and abysmal Inflation Discount Act. This was due largely to the IRA’s radical adjustments to the Medicare Half D program. The IRA arms the federal government the ability to set the costs of prescribed drugs in this system — a change which may sound useful however truly upends our healthcare system in harmful methods.
Drug producers will likely be compelled to reallocate their investments away from researching new cures and medicines to match the federal government’s calls for, which means the regulation units our nation again within the battle in opposition to ailments. Much less funding in analysis and improvement means fewer choices for seniors and fewer likelihood producers will develop groundbreaking therapies as quick as sufferers hoped. Why would AARP assist a regulation that does this to its members?
The reply could also be that AARP’s greatest backer is a medical insurance firm that stood to realize considerably from the IRA turning into regulation. UnitedHealthcare pays AARP a whole bunch of hundreds of thousands in royalties for promoting members its medical insurance plans. With the IRA, medical insurance corporations like UnitedHealthcare are relieved of protecting as a lot in Medicare Half D prices. Whereas the regulation robs seniors of entry, choices and innovation, insurers stand to save lots of — and pad their backside line.
Insurance coverage corporations should cowl solely as much as the federally mandated value, which means if producers can’t foot the invoice and can’t present the drug underneath the Medicare program, seniors are frolicked to dry whereas insurance coverage corporations pocket the cash they’d have used to cowl the drugs. When well being insurers get richer, it makes one marvel how a lot AARP stands to realize.
Within the months main as much as the midterms, AARP hosted quite a few city halls with Democratic lawmakers to tout the IRA as a “historic win.” These lawmakers included candidates in tight races the place a notion of backing from the AARP might have tipped the scales. AARP used these city halls as alternatives to prop these legislators up by giving them political cowl for his or her disastrous IRA vote, successfully boosting their electoral prospects. AARP’s “non-profit” tax standing prohibits them from endorsing these lawmakers, however they may as properly have. These city halls proceed, however now with lawmakers in secure blue seats.
When AARP bombards its members with messages to influence them to assist its positions, claims that their get-out-the-vote campaigns are “nonpartisan” ring hole. Is it attainable that by supporting Democrats profitable elections, AARP will earn vastly extra income as a company? Fairly than serving as a political fig leaf for AARP’s nakedly partisan agenda, Republican elected officers ought to refuse to take part of their occasions and finish the group’s charade as an unbiased voice for seniors.
Seniors deserve a voice that actually represents them. Till AARP places its members first, politicians ought to be referred to as out for standing by them.
Jon Decker is the manager director of American Dedication/InsideSources