AARP Leaves Questions Unanswered

This bill would make great strides for all of our members and their families….”
AARP said July 14, as House Committees prepared to review and amend the health care overhaul bill in the House which contains nearly $500 billion in Medicare cuts.

Last week, the Senate Finance Committee passed its version of health reform, and so, it appears, that the health care battle will continue to chug along with cuts to Medicare that will affect up to 14 million seniors across the country (14,000 in Washington State) and force them off of much-needed supplemental coverage providing them with critical benefits, such as prescription drugs.

Why would a seniors’ advocacy group support such drastic cuts to Medicare? It simply does not add up.

On September 21, I sent a letter to AARP requesting an explanation for its support for health care legislation, which contains provisions to cut Medicare and Medicare Advantage.

They responded on October 1, and yet my questions remain unanswered. While they state that AARP “would gladly forgo every dime of revenue to fix the health care system,” AARP continues to run ads touting Medigap plans that will remain seniors’ only option after the proposed House legislation cuts Medicare and Medicare Advantage by $500 billion. And while they stated that “AARP is not an insurance company,” 38 percent of AARP’S annual total operating revenue came from United HealthCare, but simply 23 percent of total operating revenue came from membership dues.

And while they state that “AARP has not endorsed any of the pending bills,” their support of these proposals is clear.

When I was in law enforcement, I often sat in a room for hours with a subject, asking questions to figure out the facts. And if a question wasn’t answered, we continued to ask until we reached a sensible conclusion.

Late last week, I reached out again to clarify the questions they didn’t clearly answer, and I will continue to question them, and work with them until I find answers for the seniors in my district and across the country.