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AARP and AMA Throw their Members Under the Bus

November 7, 2009

aarpknife

On Thursday, President Barack Obama took time to gloat to reporters in the White House Briefing Room about the endorsements given by the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP), and the American Medical Association (AMA), for his proposed socialization of the country’s health care system.

Amy Goodman’s Marxist mouthpiece Democracy Now! network also took a moment to report on the President’s dynamic achievement, while simultaneously contrasting it with an anti-health care rally led by angry right-wingers:

Right-Wing Groups Protest Healthcare Reform

In advance of the vote, thousands of right-wing activists gathered on Capitol Hill Thursday to rally against the proposed healthcare bill. With chants of “kill the bill,” some demonstrators carried signs comparing the measure to the Nazi Holocaust and President Obama to Chairman Mao (Zedong).

Obama Hails AARP, AMA Endorsements

The rally came as the American Association of Retired Persons, the nation’s largest retiree advocacy group, announced its endorsement of the healthcare bill. The move coincided with a similar announcement from the American Medical Association to endorse the bill if it alters rules on doctor payments under Medicare. At the White House, President Obama hailed the endorsements as a major step.

President Obama: “We are closer to passing this reform than ever before. And now that the doctors and medical professionals of America are standing with us, now that the organizations charged with looking out for the interests of seniors are standing with us, we are even closer.

How’s that for balanced reporting?

Now, in order to do justice to the main focus of Goodman’s report (the purpose of which was to highlight the AARP and AMA endorsements), we are forced, once again, to reveal the rest of the story- which Democracy Now! chose to conveniently leave out.

In the case of the AMA, what was left out isof crucial importance; namely, the fact that the AMA never put their endorsement to a vote. In fact, there is now a raging backlash going on within the ranks of the AMA over the unilateral decision of its trustees. The AMA endorsement has triggered a revolt by some members who want the endorsement withdrawn. In fact, on Monday, delegates will vote on a resolution offered by those members that, if approved, will withdraw the AMA’s endorsement of the bill.

Moving on to the AARP, whose support Obama called “no small endorsement,” something stinks in every nostril. Obama continued his self-serving pontification:

They are endorsing this bill because they know it will strengthen Medicare, not jeopardize it. They know it will protect the benefits our seniors receive, not cut them. We are closer to passing this reform than ever before, and now that doctors and medical professionals of America are standing with us, now that the organizations charged with looking out for the interests of seniors are standing with us, we are even closer.

The President is half-right—the endorsement will be beneficial, but not to seniors. It is the AARP which stands to benefit by the President’s so-called health care “reform.” As the Washington Post reported on October 27, 2009:

Democratic proposals to slash reimbursements for … Medicare Advantage are widely expected to drive up demand for private Medigap policies like the ones offered by AARP, according to health-care experts, legislative aides and documents.

What this means is that Medigap plans, like those offered for sale by AARP, will be a cash cow for the AARP. The AARP has a vested financial interest in seeing Obama’s health care reform bill pass, irrespective of what their membership wants. The Post’s front-page story went on to question:

whether AARP has a conflict of interest in appearing to represent seniors while watching Congress cut Medicare.

Its no wonder AARP’s membership is dwindling.

So what has Obama really gained here? An endorsement by the AMA, which may be withdrawn, and another by the AARP, which hopes to enrich its own coffers.

Quite an achievement.

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30 Comments
  1. Michael van der Galien permalink
    November 7, 2009 2:08 am

    Corruption, plain and simple.

    • jochang permalink
      November 7, 2009 3:32 am

      Well put, and so true. I was going to look at AARP 2010 health care programs, but not anymore. I cannot find an email address for AARP. Anyone have one I can use to tell them.

      • Michael van der Galien permalink
        November 7, 2009 4:22 am

        You can contact them here.

      • Pete Bruno permalink
        November 7, 2009 6:56 am

        Email address for AARP: bulletin@aarp.org
        Let them know how you feel about their support of ObamaCare.
        AARP toll free # 1-888-OUR-AARP

  2. Evergreen78 permalink
    November 7, 2009 4:58 am

    If I remember correctly, I heard at least one doctor explain that only 17% of physicians belong to the AMA. He called the AMA the “bow-ties.” These are physicians who mostly do research & only see enough actual patients to be able to continue to call themselves “doctors.” These are not the general practitioners & other specialists who see patients every day.

  3. Janet permalink
    November 7, 2009 5:47 am

    I dropped out of AARP some years ago when their magazine made it obvious that they were left-leaning hypocrites. Even so, without giving them a penny since, the magazine keeps coming, and I keep sending emails about their hypocracy, which, of course, they deny. I’m sure they’ve lost many many members in the past few months.

    Relative to AMA, my son-in-law, an Ob/Gyn says that it is comprised of a very small number of physicians, and even they have little to do with policy-making such as this. Unfortunately the general public doesn’t know that.

    I do hope that the house bill 3962 doesn’t come up for vote this weekend, maybe AMA will do a turn-around, but, if that isn’t the case, there will be another group letting their congressmen/women know how they feel. The U.S.Conference of Catholic Bishops will be presenting their disapproval this Sunday of all bills presently in Congress to 1900 parish churches throughout the U.S. because of the federal funding of abortion which will occur unless the Stupak Amendment is included in the bills. This amendment will specifically prevent such funding. Catholics throughout the country will be urged to contact their congressperson. Hope It’s not too late to change things.

  4. Thalpy permalink
    November 7, 2009 6:00 am

    We can only hope that they get what they deserve: our lack of participation.

  5. John Davidson permalink
    November 7, 2009 6:25 am

    The AMA is being called out by their own members: AARP never listened to their members!

  6. Michael van der Galien permalink
    November 7, 2009 6:54 am

    @Evergreen: that explains a lot.

    @Janet: good to hear that many are voicing their opposition to this ludicrous health care bill. I don’t think, however, that they’ll suddenly turn their backs on The One. No matter what their members say.

  7. Jack Hampton permalink
    November 7, 2009 7:30 am

    It appears the AMA may well be revoking there endorsement Monday many members are totally upset by it and are bringing it to a vote.

    • John Davidson permalink
      November 7, 2009 9:12 am

      Points out the difference between the 2 organizations, concisely, doesn’t it.

  8. Fred Alexander permalink
    November 7, 2009 10:55 am

    Does our President ever tell the truth or is he a compulsive liar?
    Let me get this straight, you cut billions from Medicare and by doing so Medicare will be strengthened. Obamacare will be deficit neutral, what does this guy smoke?

    Obama, Reid and Pelosi must think we are really really really stupid.

    • Roy Wilson permalink
      November 7, 2009 11:18 am

      Of course they think the American people are “really really really stupid” and will believe any absurdity fed them. After the ’08 election results, how could they think otherwise?

  9. "gunner" permalink
    November 7, 2009 1:04 pm

    it looks like i made the right decision way back in the clinton era when i canned my aarp membership over their support of the “assault weapons” ban, and like janet above, it took me a couple of years to get them to stop sending the magazine. point to remember, the aarp is not a “membership based” organization, as far as i know they have no mechanism for members to vote on policy or directorship, the lords rule and the peasantry shut up and do as they’re told.

  10. November 7, 2009 1:17 pm

    ARRP sold out. These guys are as stupid as the rest of the bunch who think that the current health care reform bill is logical. The costs are going to rise for everyone!!!!

    • Steve R permalink
      November 7, 2009 4:01 pm

      You damwell bet they sold out! When the decision(s) are made as to what insurance plans are acceptable to our new masters in DC, you can bet your bippy that AARP’s will head the list. Welcome to 1984. Well, we managed to put it off for 25 years.

  11. Janet permalink
    November 8, 2009 5:08 am

    I guess I’m the first one up this AM and since I couldn’t stay awake til the vote last night, I just heard the terrible news. I really did have hope. Congressman Boehner tried his best I think. We had a turncoat in Louisianna. You can bet your shirt that the Stupak Amendment will disappear by the time this is all over, and if that’s the case I don’t believe it will get through the Senate. 220 to 215 —so close, just two votes too many.

  12. Michael van der Galien permalink
    November 8, 2009 5:32 am

    @Janet: I agree it’s a pity it passed but 39 – thirty-nine! – Democrats voted against ObamaCare. that’s a huge number. I don’t believe for one second it can pass in the US Senate. Especially not with a filibusterproof majority.

    And don’t worry, I woke up well before you did 😉

  13. John Davidson permalink
    November 8, 2009 5:37 am

    The fight isn’t over and the only good thing to come out of this fiasco is that we all are well aware of who is looking out for us and who aren’t.

  14. Phillip Ley permalink
    November 8, 2009 7:49 am

    The AMA leadership is indeed made up of “bow-ties” and academics, and a lot of older doctors who aren’t clinically busy…..we have one here in Mississippi who believes those of us younger than he should just “sit and listen”. Well, we aren’t. We voted three weeks ago to “de-unify” from the AMA, meaning that AMA membership is not required to be a member of the state Medical association. I would estimate that since the AMA’s announcement of support for Obama’s intentions this past summer, enough have quit that the AMA represents far fewer than 17% of physicians. Many of us are joining the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (www.aapsonline.org) as an alternative, but I, for now, am maintaining my AMA membership so I cannot be denied entry at the meetings and I can be a monumental thorn in their side. They won’t allow me in to their cabal’s inner sanctum, but I can make a lot of noise outside. I am the state chairman for AAPS, and will work to build that organization locally. The public needs to understand that the AMA doesn’t give a rip about patient care, nor do they really care about medical liability reform….their support is indeed corrupt, it is all about protecting their $42million/year CPT coding business. They are a real-estate and insurance business, and a professional society in name only. Many other professional societies chimed in also, however, in support of Pelosi-care. The American College of Surgeons, of which I am a Fellow, sad to say, supported it. There is a rancorous clamor, however, among the rank-and-file working memberships of these organizations, and we will take them back and return them to respectability.

  15. Joseph White permalink
    November 8, 2009 7:55 am

    I would consider AARP and AMA unions, and the people that backed this travesty of a health plan to be no better than mobsters out to get their quick bucks.

    Both have long ago ceased being organizations that helped the people they say they do. If this weren’t so, then the AARP would have realized that Medicare is going to get the axe. And if the AMA had any sense at all, they’d remember that when Medicare was launched, it was heralded as the end all of senior health programs, but since 1995, has been gutted and now a hospital is lucky if it gets 30% of what they spent on that patient.

    Why does congress think that it can run the healthcare system and make money, when they can’t even balance their own checkbook.

  16. November 8, 2009 7:03 pm

    I just canceled my AARP membership. i can’t believe they turned their backs on all seniors by supporting the Obama health care bill. Read it. it is going go cost all of us old folks lots of money.

  17. John permalink
    November 8, 2009 9:08 pm

    So at what price is health care too expensive?

    We spend 15% of our GDP on it vs. about 10% or less for all the other 1st world countries.

    Are we number 1 in life span? No
    Are we number 1 in infant mortality? No

    So we spend the most and don’t get the most. Folks we have an issue and it needs to be fixed.
    How can we compete with the rest of the world when we have these costs holding us back?

  18. Janet permalink
    November 9, 2009 5:02 am

    So John, what is your point, government control of our health care would be better? Health care reform that would include
    half a bllion dollars in cuts to medicare? Federal funding of abortions (that would help take care of that infant mortality rate you mention)? And, John, if we’re not first in the best medical care in the world, why do all who are able who need life saving proceedures come to this country for treatment? I’d like to know just what you mean by “needs to be fixed”.

    • Jack Hampton permalink
      November 9, 2009 12:35 pm

      Janet
      you raise good questions for those so fast for any change. For your edification and others the old infant mortality carnard is just that a carnard it has a lot to do with the way infant deaths are reported. The US reports all of theres for what ever reason while most of these countries do not. Also some of there reports are questionable to say the least say like Cuba? Also Americans are living longer and longer because of our medical care inspite of the bad life style choices many make and lack of exercise. Do not buy into the old bull.

  19. Joseph White permalink
    November 9, 2009 5:32 am

    John,
    If this bill goes through the senate, as is, and the president votes on it, then you can kiss the medical profession goodbye. Did you know that they are going to tax us an extra 10% just to cover people who should be covering themselves? That’s in addition to the 7.5% FICA, and the Medicare and Medicaide that they are already taxing us. So, figure that you can kiss 20% of your take home pay goodbye.
    Now, imagine that you are working for $7 and hour. There is no way you’ll have anything left of your paycheck, and you can’t afford to buy medical insurance. Guess what will happen then? The Federal government will fine you anywhere from 1500 – 250000 bucks, because you don’t have coverage..and if you can’t pay that fine, you’ll be going to jail. How long? Anywhere from 1-5 years, and it’ll be a felony (Because it’s federal,) and you can kiss your gun rights goodbye, because felons can’t buy guns, and you can kiss your voting rights goodbye, since felons can’t vote.

    If this bill goes through and Obama signs it, it’ll be government tyranny, and you’ll be the one held slave.

    Now, as to our heatlhcare system, it’s the best in the world. You can see your private doctor today, find out you have cancer, get an MRI tomorrow, and see a cancer specialist wednesday and start on Chemo or Rad treatments thursday, and your existing policy will cover it.

    Under the Obama bill, you’ll find cancer tomorrow, and a goverment panel will say, “You’re over 50, sorry, no cancer treatments for you.” It’s called government rationing, and it’s wrong. Further more, once the government takes it over, we’ll never get it back, and DC will drive all insurance companies out of business, leaving us all slaves of DC.

    I, for one, would rather go to jail, than be a slave. Can you just imagine the prison conversation. “I’m in for killing 5 women, and raping 2 children, what are you in for?” “Well, I’m in here because I didn’t have health insurance. Aren’t I a hardened criminal?”

  20. Janet permalink
    November 9, 2009 5:55 am

    Marvelous response, Joseph.

  21. harridan permalink
    November 9, 2009 7:47 am

    below is a letter that i sent to the aarp in august when they first announced their support of obamacare then reversed their position when they were deluged w/members leaving their organization. it’s as valid a opinion today as it was then…..
    i can’t believe that you’ve sold out us seniors to this socialist bamahealthcare scam that is
    being crammed down the throats(hmm hry reid’s words i believe) of the citizens of this
    country!
    I am so furious… you are idiots and I don’t know where you get the audacity to purport to
    speak for the welfare of seniors! you’ve doomed us to the potential of an early death as the boobs in congress decide the value of our lives as we age and/or become ill and a financial burden … I
    hate your organization and EVERYTIME this g*d***n newsletter appears in my mailbox
    you will receive another missive from me, as i already have sent one last week when i
    unsubscribed to hearing ANYTHING from you frauds!
    So figure it out and unsubscribe me and ALL of my acquaintances who assure me that they
    have the same plans… what fools you are… i assume that the age of the idiots who
    encourage your most recent and devastating stance to be the age of the 20 somethings
    who haven’t moved out of their parent’s home basements nor ever expect to achieve the
    AMERICAN DREAM!
    now let’s give it another go and unsubscribe this email address….. i have to keep my blood
    pressure down for fear that i may have typed my last note due to a stroke you j**k***ed
    dreamers…
    ca

  22. Will Marshall permalink
    November 9, 2009 4:28 pm

    The owners of Colonial Penn Life Insurance founded AARP as a means of deriving a database of people who could be sold their vehicles.

    In 2004, in an article in a subscribers magazine published by GEICO, the writer related that, in 1999, AARP received seventy-five million $$$ in grants from the federal government.

    Follow the money.

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