Claude Cartaginese

AARP's Unforgivable Betrayal of Senior Citizens

Posted on August 19 2009 1:05 am
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Chris Matthews reported last night on Hardball that America’s seniors are angry.  They are angry, surprisingly, with the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP), the one organization that is supposed to represent their interests. Specifically, they are so angry at AARP’s support for President Barack Obama‘s plan to socialize the nation’s health care system, that 60,000 seniors left AARP in the month of July.

Why are they so upset?  Could it be that seniors know that they are the ones who will suffer most under Obama’s plan?  Could it be that they know intuitively–what Obama and the Democrats supporting his plan are not saying publicly–that changing the status quo will lead to less care and lower quality care for the elderly?  Might they be frightened that the “end of life counseling” worked into the president’s plan would be offered to them sooner than they would like?

Seniors are not stupid.  They are not on board with rationing, whether de facto or intentional.  They fear the prospect of a proposed “Quality-Adjusted Remaining Years” formula, where a panel of decision-makers will amortize the cost of treatment and then decide the seniors’ fate based upon a statistical probability analysis of what their quality of life is likely to be in future years. They’re frightened of surgeries being denied them because they’re deemed too old to merit a costly procedure.

Most importantly, they expect that a membership organization to which they pay dues, should actually represent them and their interests.  Seniors also know that the AARP is being disingenuous with its members in that it has taken its considerable weight and placed it firmly behind Obama’s socialist healthcare model, while not having the decency to do so publicly.  A typical response from the AARP, when confronted by concerned seniors, seems to be what happened in Dallas earlier this month, when an AARP spokeswoman walked off the stage [see video above] after being challenged by members with legitimate concerns.  The AARP seems to have lost its voice and abandoned its mission.

Many of those seniors who have left AARP have found another voice.  A new organization has sprung up which aims to pick up the ball that AARP has dropped. The Atlanta-based American Seniors Association (ASA) describes itself as a conservative grassroots advocacy organization whose mission is to “provide seniors with the choices, information, and services they need to live healthier, wealthier lives.” ASA has specified that it “wants seniors to live longer, more fulfilling years of life — not an ‘end of life’ continuum that this [Obama’s healthcare] bill suggests.”

Unlike the AARP, the ASA is unequivocally opposed to Obama’s plan. The new organization is inviting seniors to send it their torn-up AARP membership cards, which thousands of seniors did last month. If you’re an AARP member who’s upset with the organization’s blanket support of Obama’s plan, ASA might be worth a look.

Choice, after all, is a good thing. Right, Barack?

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