AARP and AMA Throw their Members Under the Bus
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 The AMA endorsement has triggered a revolt by some members who want the endorsement withdrawn.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.