If you'll pardon this approach, I tend to think of AARP and Listerine in the same breath. Remember the old Listerine slogan: hate the taste but use it twice a day? That's how I feel about AARP. I'm not sure I like them but I do use their services quite often as I dink around for info on aging. I've been a member off and on for years.
AARP is huge -- and suspect.
From its creation, AARP has been a vehicle to sell health insurance to older Americans. Since 1958, the organization has grown into a powerhouse with an annual budget larger, maybe, than some Third World nations. At $800 million, the AARP budget is five times larger than the U. S. Chamber of Commerce, according to the Washington Post. With a claimed membership of 35 million, AARP is 10 times the size of the National Rifle Association says the Post.
AARP is the largest lobby organization in the United States. Maybe the world.
So how the hell did we end up with such a convoluted formula on Medicare prescription drug benefits. That program is needlessly confusing.
Let me tell you, if I ran the largest lobby machine in America, your drugs would be delivered to your front door.
Sure, that's an obvious over-statement. But it makes my point. I don't blame the Congress or President Bush as much as I fault AARP. They let it happen. Without a doubt, the bill would have never passed without AARP's support. They were wrong and older America is paying for AARP's mistake.
How did it happen? AARP has over 1,800 employees, many of whom are damned smart.
Two things seem obvious. AARP cut a deal with the drug manufacturers. Wish we could follow the money trail. And AARP recognized a new opportunity to sell insurance. That's a clear conflict of interest.