Tuesday, April 17, 2007

AARP fox/henhouse

AARP, the biggest lobby organization in the U.S., now wants to become the biggest player selling lucrative healthcare policies for Medicare recipients along with other products for the near-old people 50 to 64 years of age.

Surely I am not the only one who can see a field of red flags. Talk about conflict of interest, how can AARP lobby Congress about health care and sell insurance out the back door? Maybe I have that reversed. After all, AARP was born to provide insurance to older people.

From today's NY Times comes this quote: "AARP will not be perceived as a truly independent on Medicare if it's making hefty profits by selling insurance products that provide Medicare coverage," says Judith Stein, director of the Center for Medicare Advocacy, a non-profit group that counsels people on Medicare. Temptation.

Although AARP has previously opposed efforts to privatize Medicare, Ms.Stein thinks AARP's role could give a big boost to privatization. See the plot developing here? Money, money, money.

Frankly, I think AARP is the most dangerous organization in America. As I've said before, the convoluted Medicare drug program became a fact because AARP let it happen. Insurance, remember.

Worse, with 38 million members (soon to be 50 million) AARP is the real muscle behind any Social Security reform. If a plan is not blessed by AARP, it won't happen. Period. And thus far, AARP has shown more greed than sense.

This is beginning to have a bad smell. I hope not. We need an organization like AARP. But ethics are ethics.

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