AARP Throws Seniors Under
The Health Care Legislative Bus
By Carolyn Cormey
If you (like me) thought that AARP was first a senior advocacy organization who checked out all of the various Medicare supplemental insurance companies and then hand-picked United Health Care to put together the AARP specifically designed Medicare supplemental policies for us seniors . . . we were sooooooo wrong! It was actually the opposite. Did you know that AARP was formed by an insurance salesman to sell Medicare supplemental health insurance to seniors? Through a 60 Minute expose in 1978 and some subsequent congressional investigations regarding AARP's non-profit status, the insurance company names and associations to AARP changed but the prime objective remained for AARP, which was to sell seniors the Medicare supplemental Insurance offered by their primary controlling partner United Health Care. It was United Health Care who put together the current AARP to sell their Medicare Medi-Gap supplemental insurance plans to seniors! This was, is, and will continue to be the top priority of AARP.
The senior advocacy stuff . . . is an add-on to selling insurance, a way to put us seniors together as a "community" from which they could generate even more revenue, membership fees AND hundreds of millions of dollars each year for allowing companies to attach AARP logos and/or endorsements to the products they sell us. We get a magazine full of advertisements, a few AARP discounts that they "negotiate" for us on travel and other junk . . . . and then AARP uses their influence to manipulate our senior "community" to lobby our Senators and Congressmen on things that will sometimes benefit us BUT always first benefit the interests of their insurance business partner. This works very well for us seniors when our senior interests line up with the business interests of United Health Care Insurance and related companies.
When the business interests of United Health Care are going in the opposite direction of what is in the best interests of seniors (like in this health care legislation) it becomes the job of AARP to "help" (manipulate) us old-folks along to reach the understanding that AARP is making the best choices on our behalf, regardless of what the "lying" facts confirm. Right now, AARP continues to use their influence and heft to throw us seniors and our Medicare under the Health Care bus, telling us not to focus on the tire track marks running up and down our backs, that we should not be concerned about this health care legislation taking nearly $500 billion out of Medicare. AARP tells us that this Health Care Legislation will actually provide us seniors a better quality of medical care, no doctor shortage, no rationing and it will definitely not put government in-between us and our doctors in making decisions on medical procedures and prescription drugs. Huh????
AARP, Democrats and Big Government Cut a Deal that Seniors Pay For:
Medi-Gap is Medicare Supplemental insurance that pays the remaining 20% due after Medicare pays the first 80% of a medical fee for a medical service Medicare approves. If Medicare does not allow or support a medical procedure or fee, your Medi-Gap will also not pay for it. United Health Care sells Medi-gap Supplemental Insurance. AARP was forced by senior demand to add a Medicare Advantage Program (they outsourced) to the insurance program options available to members. United Health Care would like to see Medicare Advantage GONE. To gain the support of the powerful AARP (the front group for United Health Care) for this health care bill, the Democrat Leaders agreed to get rid of Medicare Advantage Programs either immediately upon passage of this health care legislation OR to quickly dismantle Medicare Advantage on an accelerated schedule. Then Medi-Gap Medicare Supplemental Insurance becomes the only game in town AND who does the biggest Medi-Gap insurance business IN EVERY SINGLE STATE IN THE COUNTRY . . . . "surprise" United Health Care! Seniors who now have the benefits of Medicare Advantage, offering low or no monthly premiums with coverage that often includes vision, dental and prescription drug coverage, will now have to dig up an additional $125 - $275 per month for Medi-Gap insurance premiums PLUS an additional $30 to $80 monthly premium to pay for their Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Coverage. They will also have to come up with money to pay for vision and dental. Doing away with the Medical Advantage programs certainly is not good for low income seniors who rely on it BUT it will certainly be good for United Health Care Medi-gap insurance business AND what is good for them is the prime mission of the AARP.
For those of us already on AARP United Health Care Medi-gap insurance, paying substantial premiums so that we can self-refer to Specialists, this health care legislation will now begin pilot programs that will soon require all of us seniors (even with our Medi-gap insurance) to have a "Medical Home," which is another name for a "gate keeper" that will refer us (or can refuse to refer us) to the Specialists they will now choose for us based on recommendations from the US Preventive Services Task Force, one of over 70 government committees and boards that will provide input and restrictions on the health care of seniors, first.
Our "Medical Home" Gate-Keeper Primary Physician may not even be a Physician at all. For us seniors, our "Medical Home" may be a physician's assistant or a nurse practioner. Somehow the same AARP who thinks that it is not a problem to cut nearly $500 Billion from Medicare also does not see any of this as a problem for seniors they are supposed to advocate for! It is a matter of AARP's first loyalty and perspective, what is good for United Health Care. The last pretense is gone. Last week AARP lobbied Senators to vote against an amendment by Senator McCain that would protect Medicare funds for Medicare, to fix and extend Medicare. The amendment was not passed.
Where To Direct Your Anger:
The Scorpion stung the beaver who was carrying it across the river and they both drowned because it is the nature of a Scorpion to sting. United Health Care is a business with a mission to grow their business. When the Democrat Leaders with their super majority on a march towards government control of our health care, decided to move their target bulls-eye to the insurance industry AND offered United Health Care (because of its relationship with AARP) a chance to not only survive this health care legislative Tsunami but a chance to grow and capture a larger share of the market, you can believe that they quickly chose to throw the full support of AARP behind the Legislative Agenda of the Democrat political party who holds the power to deliver the hatchet OR the bacon!
Tearing up your AARP Membership Card and denying them the $15 membership fee does not fix the problem. It is time that we tear up our legislators for allowing and even participating in secrecy, back-room deals and even blackmailing or threatening organizations like the AMA and the other unlikely groups who seem to be supporting this health care legislation against their own interests and the interests of those they represent. Transparency is not one of the "changes we can count on" from the Obama Administration that neither invites nor tolerates the input from those who are not in lockstep with their political agenda. Elections do have consequences. How are you liking the "changes" so far?
Call Senator Bill Nelson who is strongly in support of this health care legislation that targets the health care for the seniors he is supposed to represent. He continues to call it a "bi-partisan" effort. Huh? Perhaps you might want to give him a call or write him a letter asking him to explain exactly how (beyond platitudes) cutting $500 Billion from Medicare will be good for your senior health care. www.contactingthecongress.org (202) 224-3121.