Thursday, August 9, 2007

AARP sold out

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.


Ken Martin said...

You're on the right track about wanting to follow the money trail. If the AARP is a nonprofit, then you can follow the money because nonprofits are required to file Form 990 reports with the IRS. You can get some free info about those reports at

Anonymous said...

The government can force organizations like Boy Scouts,Girl scouts,and any other non-profit groups to disclose their records. Why not the AARP??
You mentioned the NRA. The NRA is just as bad about giving in to pressure as the AARP.
Wish we could get some of our fearless leaders in D.C. to open up about their financial activities.-- Goose

The South Plainsman said...

AARP is in this for themselves, and do not intend to represent the membership except in instances where those interests coincide. Much of what they do makes no sense, otherwise. They claim to represent the membership in order to gain clout, but that is not really their true interest.

The ones to really get mad at, though, are the elected representatives who follow the lobbyists' leads without regard for what is good for the people that elected them. My thought is that the whole system is corrupt.

Until we elect people who will engage in meaningful reform, intead of those who just make empty promises, the corruption will only get worse. There is just too much money sloshing around Washington.

Don't hold your breath until that is remedied.

Anonymous said...

AARP's PAID endorsement of United Health Care to cover part D is a good example of how AARP soldout. United Health Care charged me $21.00 for an $11.85 perscription. Last year I did not hit the gap. This year I am in it and use part D insurance less. United Health Care fired it's CEO in Nov 07 due to stock option fraud. But still is willing to pay him 5 million a year in retirement. While that is on hold by a judge. It still shows that AARP picked United Health Care because UHC PAID for it.

naomi dagen bloom said...

it was a relief to tear up my card a few years ago when AARP suported changes to Medicare that would only benefit their interests--not any of us real people.

why let congress off the hook? why not blame the "decider"? it would be wonderful if investigative (are there any left?) reporters began to look at this prosperous outfit.

Blue Agave said...

Somebody needs to do something about the AARP, and quick! Recently they took their open internet board away from a specialist and began running it "in house". It seems that it is being run by a gang of thugs. AARP takes ownership of all rights, including "proprietary derivative" rights of any material posted by the participants. This is in language unlike most other internet "right-to-use" clauses. It includes right to publicly identify all private information and use material about the poster and from the poster at any future time.

In June 2008 (and possibly further back) a predator bbegan using the AARP logo as an avatar and began targetting vulnerable newcomers in their "community help" section, (the seat of choice for any internet predator who wants to screen for naive users.) He sends strangely "imperative" instructions to other members as soon as they arrive and he sets himself up as "spokesman" in their place without asking permission or having any polite conversation.

He sends weird emails to other members and posts jpgs of their complaints as trophies. This is INSIDE the AARP.ORG site itself, not in some amateur copy-cat fraud site!

The AARP "Community host" threatens members who complain with being banned.

This sounds trivial but think about it: many of them have membership in the AARP that includes serious financial services and they are seeing their personal actrivity being posted with impunity by a sick stalker who uses the AARP logo right there. This has been going on for months and with many, many complaints having brought it to AARP's attention.

How sick is this guy? Mostly he attacks any female who asks a tech question, but he really shows his stuff if another male speaks up in a female's defense. He sends such men insults about any woman's picture they may have posted, including in memorial pages!!!

And AARP defends him, allows this to go on, while another poster has announced in the boards that he has been able to sit down in a pulbic library and look over the shoulder of someone who accessed all the "private message" parts of the board.

I'm not naming the company that AARP dropped as its host before launching this new in-house criminal haven, but I am familiar with that company as a very respectable and very professional board-specialist that runs the discussion boards for some big corporations.

I can only imagine that there was a parting of the ways over this new level of unethical abuse of AARP members, and it was not worth the price of the contract to that other company to be held respnsible for the criminal element that is now running those boards.

Rodney said...

Since joining AARP and receiving the daily e-mail updates, petitions, political announcements, etc., I have found AARP to be nothing more than a partisan, socialistic organization. The approach they take is that of, all members share the same political agendas and opinions. There stance is on of, "what can you do for me?" rather than, "what is the best thing we can do for our country?" I have read posts from members who want to complain because they had to take five minutes to complete a form. How selfish and self-centered can one be? I always find AARP and most of its members to lean far to the left, assuming that all members share this leaning. Far from it. I am all for helping others, within reason, but not at the expense of hard working taxpayers. I do not subscribe to the Earned Income Tax Credit mindset. I do not believe those who pay little or no taxes should ever receive income they did not earn. AARP is a huge supporter of this policy. My parents are from a generation who believe in working for what we receive and this is what I was taught. As an adult who is able to make up my own mind, I continue to believe in this philosophy. If one will do their homework they will find that our government is handing out our hard earned taxes to Illegal Aliens by the millions as soon as they step foot in our country. Your Social Security is dwindling to nothing as a result of this. Wake up Seniors!!! Stop thinking of yourselves so much and think about the good of this country.

Anonymous said...

If you want to understand how AARP influences DC, take a look at this:

Dr. Juan V. De la Sierra said...

There is a HUGE conflict of interest between AARP's apparent support of health care reform and the immense political effort of its prime insurer United Health Care to block any reform.
This collaboration is suspect. AARP has lost its primary agenda which was to be a voice for the over 50s. It has become as irrelevant as the wolly mammoth before its extinction.
We need a real advocate for the over-50s, someone that is NOT in the pocket of the mega-insurers.
Dr. Juan V. De la Sierra Sarasota FL

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