Seniors have been amongst the biggest critics of Obamacare,a recent Gallup poll released recently found only 36% of people 65 or older thought the healthcare law is a “good thing,” compared to 54% who said it is a “bad thing.”
The reason for the rejection of Obamacare is many of its provisions are coming out of the wallets of Older Americans. Taxes on “Cadillac plans,” and investments will be skewed to those older American. There is also the Tax on medical device manufacturers and replacement parts which will be passed on to mostly Senior consumers as the taxed Items are ones that are used mostly by Seniors including Pacemakers, Hip joint replacements, Powered wheelchairs, Hearing aids, and Prosthetic heart valve rotators. Older Americans are also upset with the $500,000 cut in medicare.
AARP caused a revolt amongst its members when it allowed President Obama to use it as a PR tool in his efforts to pass his Health Care agenda even though the bill hurt its membership. As Seniors are a very important voting bloc and the GOP has promised to make it a key issue, the President has enlisted AARP again, this time to calm their nerves about Obamacare before the November election.
“We’re going to have an environment that off and on will be politically charged,” said Nancy LeaMond, executive vice president for social impact at the AARP. “Our hope is that the environment will be more conducive to talking about the facts, though we know there are going to be attempts to scare our members.”
Democrat Debbi Wasserman Schultz is welcoming the move saying that her senior constituents “….have been sold a bill of goods by opponents of this legislation,” which is pretty strong words for a woman who lied to her constituents, denying the bill had an individual mandate forcing Americans to purchase insurance, at a town hall earlier this week.
“I want seniors to know, despite some of the stuff that’s been said out there, these reforms don’t cut into your guaranteed benefits,” Obama said last week. “What they do is eliminate co-payments and deductibles for preventive care, like checkups and mammograms. You will be getting those for free now.”
Perhaps the biggest selling point for Medicare beneficiaries is the gradual phasing-out of the so-called doughnut hole coverage gap that is currently part of the Medicare Part D drug benefit; this year, beneficiaries who fall into the gap will receive a $250 rebate.
“We think that closing the doughnut hole over time is going to be exceedingly important,” the AARP’s LeaMond said. What she didn’t say is that the $250 will help them pay for the higher out of pocket costs resulting from much needed health care procedures going out the window with the cuts in medicare.
“This is the part where we have to be able to explain to our members the specifics as it applies to them,” LeaMond said. “We’re going to have to move very quickly from a lot of general or even hypothetical questions to very specific case questions.”
The technical term for that is “telling tall tales.”
“AARP will use all of our communication channels — from our publications and website to in-person events — to make sure that our members and all older Americans have reliable information about what they can expect — and how they can benefit — from healthcare reform,” AARP Senior Vice President Drew Nannis said in a statement Wednesday.
Why would AARP continue to sell this bill to it’s membership, especially since its provisions are so bad for its membership? As Bloomberg reported this past December, money. AARP makes most of its revenue from selling insurance through licensees, and Obamacare will be an income boom for the specialized kinds of insurance sold at higher than marketplace rates in the name of AARP.
“At the end of the day, it’s all about fattening the coffers of the organization,” says Thomas Orecchio, who was chairman of the Arlington Heights, Illinois-based National Association of Personal Financial Advisors until September. AARP, he says, is sponsoring insurance for its members at inflated prices.“It’s the dirty little secret,” he says.
Republican lawmakers point to AARP’s thriving business in Medigap policies, which provide supplemental coverage for standard Medicare plans available to the elderly. The bills provisions slashing reimbursements to Medicare Advantage, are widely expected to drive up demand for private Medigap policies like the ones licensed by AARP, according to health-care experts, legislative aides and documents.
…”We are witnessing a disturbing trend of handouts to special interests like AARP,” said House Republican spokesman Matt Lloyd to the Washington Post in October, “In return, AARP is lobbying for a government-run health-care bill that will pad their own executives’ pockets at the expense of its own members and other vulnerable seniors.”
I would never argue with an organization’s right to make money, that would make me a Democrat. But it seems to me that if the AARP lobbies its membership to be supportive of the Obamacare bill, they should be honest with its members and the American Public. In this case it seems as if AARP is putting profit before the heath and well being of its membership and should be punished by its members for this dishonesty.
If you want to read more from Jeff Dunetz go to his Blog The Lid