The AARP, along with the American Medical Association, announced yesterday that they support the proposed House version of healthcare reform. For people that have accused the AARP of being nothing more than a left-wing advocacy group, calling them such things as the American Association of Radical Politicos, the fact that they support the Pelosi version will comes as no surprise. The 60 Plus Association and others have even accused AARP of merely supporting legislation that they stand to profit from via their insurance offerings to members. The validity of this argument depends on who you listen to and which facts you look at.
I’ve been watching the American Seniors Association (ASA), a self-described “conservative seniors group”, more closely since I last wrote about the group attracting disaffected AARP members to their ranks. I’ve been curious to see if they will successfully capitalize on the media attention they’ve been given. The instant I heard AARP endorsed the House bill, I wanted to see how the ASA would respond. To date I have not seen a specific response to AARP’s endorsement or read about any solution ASA suggests. Stuart Barton, President of the ASA, wrote the following in this opinion piece:
My organization has three major concerns with the proposals advanced by the Obama administration:
- A government-run plan would limit patient-doctor choice;
- there would be an employer mandate that would kill jobs and lower wages; and
- the current House legislation attacks baby boomers and seniors “in fact, every American” by paying for its $1 trillion to $1.6 trillion health care with new taxes and by cutting $500 billion out of Medicare over the next 10 years.
Particularly outrageous is a section of the House bill mandating that a senior citizen must go to counseling every five years with a government bureaucrat in order to basically learn how to prepare to die.
So is the idea behind this current legislation to let baby boomers and seniors die more quickly so the government doesn’t have to care for them in old age? Is that a plan you can believe in?
The merits of the first 3 points Barton mentioned are open to debate, but the latter point, that the government wants baby boomers to die early in order to save money, is absurd. It’s the same “death panel” claim pushed by Sarah Palin. It’s not only false, but to anyone that knows anything about advance directives, it’s a deliberate attempt to mislead individuals and spin facts.
I’m disappointed. While I don’t necessarily subscribe to all the ideas a liberal or conservative group promotes, I respect the opinions of individuals and organizations that tell the truth. IF the AARP is a “true” liberal advocacy group, having a conservative organization pose counterpoints only helps promote honest debate and real solutions. I had hopes that the ASA would stick to their claim that they offer members real, useful information so you can make up your own mind. At this stage, I’m just note seeing it.