AARP’s conflict of interest

posted at 12:15 pm on October 27, 2009 by Ed Morrissey

We first mentioned this a couple of months ago, when the AARP lost 60,000 members in a month for backing ObamaCare and its cuts to Medicare and Medicare Advantage.  Dan Eggen at the Washington Post reports in more detail on the political connections AARP gets for its acquiescence on Medicare cuts and the potential financial advantages it sees in political support of the administration’s efforts to overhaul the health-care industry:

The group’s dual role as an insurance reformer and a broker has come under increasing scrutiny in recent weeks from congressional Republicans, who accuse it of having a conflict of interest in taking sides in the fierce debate over health insurance. Three House Republicans sent a letter to AARP on Monday complaining that the group was putting its “political self-interests” ahead of seniors.

GOP lawmakers point to AARP’s thriving business in marketing branded Medigap policies, which provide supplemental coverage for standard Medicare plans available to the elderly. Democratic proposals to slash reimbursements for another program, called 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.

Republicans also question the high salaries and other perks given to some top AARP executives, who would not be subject to limits on insurance executives’ pay included in the Senate Finance Committee’s health reform package. Former AARP chief executive William Novelli received more than $1 million in compensation last year.

“We are witnessing a disturbing trend of handouts to special interests like AARP,” said House Republican spokesman Matt Lloyd, referring to Democratic negotiations over health reform. “In return, AARP is lobbying for a government-run health-care bill that will pad their own executives’ pockets at the expense of its own members and other vulnerable seniors.”

How important is the sale of insurance to AARP?  The group was formed 50 years ago for the express purpose of providing insurance to retirees, in the days before Medicare.  Today, over half of its $1.14 billion annual revenue comes from insurance premiums, royalties on credit cards, and so on.  They don’t carry the paper themselves; instead, they sell their name to a non-profit in exchange for a cut of the proceeds, which are tax exempt.

In a sense, then, AARP has a vested interest in Medicare Advantage cuts.  The MA program competes with their Medigap plans, which reduces their revenue.  Any cuts to MA will mean more customers for AARP, and a boost in revenue … at least until the government decides to cut out the middlemen, in exactly the same manner Congress is considering with student loans.

When AARP offers its endorsements and its recommendations, remember that it has its own interests in mind — and that those may not coincide with the interests of their membership.


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Comments

AARP walking out of that Dallas town hall is everything that is wrong with the left

No disagreement

No difference of opinion

No other voices

battleoflepanto1571 on October 27, 2009 at 12:16 PM

I will never, ever join AARP, and I have instructed my wife to ignore them as well.

UltimateBob on October 27, 2009 at 12:17 PM

The AARP has been taken over by leftists.

faraway on October 27, 2009 at 12:17 PM

Grandma told them to go crawl back to their cave and cancelled them. :) I am proud of her!

upinak on October 27, 2009 at 12:21 PM

The AARP has become a wing of the demonrat party.

farright on October 27, 2009 at 12:21 PM

The media ignoring this story is stunning. I guess selling out your members for EVIL PROFITS is cool as long as it’s consistent with the liberal agenda.

marklmail on October 27, 2009 at 12:22 PM

The AARP has been taken over by leftists.

faraway on October 27, 2009 at 12:17 PM

More like they’ve been emboldened to show their true colors what with a socialist in the White House.

highhopes on October 27, 2009 at 12:22 PM

The interests of the AARP don’t comport with those of their members, and the Barry administration’s interests don’t comport with the American people’s. A perfect union.

anXdem on October 27, 2009 at 12:23 PM

and I have instructed my wife to ignore them as well.

UltimateBob on October 27, 2009 at 12:17 PM

There is a comment from a man looking over his should has he types…
*
I too ignore the AARP, they are basically an insurance company, they have proven they care little about seniors. The ACORN of the aged…

right2bright on October 27, 2009 at 12:23 PM

It’s a damn shame that such a promising organization has been corrupted to the fullest extent.

The Calibur on October 27, 2009 at 12:24 PM

I got my first shill from AARP the day after I turned 50. It went directly into the trash (after a good laugh about the accuracy of their list buying), as has every follow-up since.

Bob's Kid on October 27, 2009 at 12:25 PM

My fiance showed me here new ACARP??? (whatever the AARP alternate group name is) last night. She is VERY upset with what AARP has done. She dropped AARP a few months ago. Her membership in this new group is more of a protest than anything.

Our money votes too. Upset you can only vote once? Put your money into firms/organizations that support your point of view. I joined the NRA at one of tea parties.

bbordwell on October 27, 2009 at 12:25 PM

AARP. Stealing from old people and giving it to the Democrat Party.

faraway on October 27, 2009 at 12:25 PM

At least regular whores are a bit more honest about their transactions.

bbz123 on October 27, 2009 at 12:27 PM

bbordwell on October 27, 2009 at 12:25 PM

My question (which to this day still hasn’t been answered by anyone including AARP):

How in the hell do they get your name and birthday?

Social Security comes to mind.

upinak on October 27, 2009 at 12:29 PM

upinak on October 27, 2009 at 12:29 PM

I don’t think you’d be surprised to know how easy it is to get that information. Ever heard of Accurint? There are many firms that collect this info and sell it for pennies.

bbordwell on October 27, 2009 at 12:33 PM

The media has been ignoring hundreds of such stories since Obama has been in office why should they change their tune now?

catlady on October 27, 2009 at 12:36 PM

Two-Faced Money Grubbing Pigs!

BigMike252 on October 27, 2009 at 12:36 PM

AA(L)RP is just like all the other “advocacy groups” such as the NAA(L)CP, NO(L)W, etc, it cares more about the advancement of the LIBERAL agenda than the people they purport to exist to protect.

wildcat84 on October 27, 2009 at 12:39 PM

And this is why I am one of those 60,000 former members who told AARP that I was dropping them like a hot potato, and would never recommend them to anyone my age or older.

pilamaye on October 27, 2009 at 12:40 PM

If they had there way, the commercial of the AARP cop pulling people over and wanting to see their insurance would be reality.

Take away their tax except status and limit salaries for their management. Let the chickens come home to roost.

Hening on October 27, 2009 at 12:43 PM

AARP = Aging Asset Recycling Program

j_galt on October 27, 2009 at 12:46 PM

I will never forget the classic audience question in Dallas AARP meeting, “Do you work for us or do we work for you?”.

d1carter on October 27, 2009 at 12:51 PM

AARP’s leadership is left of its chapter leadership, which is far left of the rank and file, which …

DrSteve on October 27, 2009 at 12:53 PM

When Bush tried to privatize a portion of Social Security AARP was leading the charge in opposition to program.

pckle on October 27, 2009 at 12:58 PM

I got my first shill from AARP the day after I turned 50. It went directly into the trash (after a good laugh about the accuracy of their list buying), as has every follow-up since.

Bob’s Kid on October 27, 2009 at 12:25 PM

I’ve been receiving AARP crap in the mail for the last year, and I’m only 38.

Dominion on October 27, 2009 at 1:02 PM

AARP is and always has been nothing but a left wing front group. I can’t stop their crap from coming in the junk mail but I can assure you it immediately takes up residence in my garbage can.

rplat on October 27, 2009 at 1:07 PM

AARP began soliciting me 20 years ago. I had them pegged as liberals then and through the years they have only confirmed my opinion and more. They have no interest in seniors. They are no better than the any of the other scum that try to prey on the elderly.

donh525 on October 27, 2009 at 1:08 PM

They are so trying to court me to join. I keep filing them for future wipes.

hawkman on October 27, 2009 at 1:11 PM

The best thing about turning 50 will be to tell AARP to go pound sand.

NoDonkey on October 27, 2009 at 1:36 PM

The best thing about turning 50 will be to tell AARP to go pound sand.

NoDonkey on October 27, 2009 at 1:36 PM

Hey, it’s good to have a goal.

Blacksmith8 on October 27, 2009 at 1:58 PM

And this is why I am one of those 60,000 former members who told AARP that I was dropping them like a hot potato, and would never recommend them to anyone my age or older.

pilamaye on October 27, 2009 at 12:40 PM

Thank you pilamaye. People had to make a stand against them.

yoda on October 27, 2009 at 1:59 PM

The AARP has been taken over by leftists.

faraway on October 27, 2009 at 12:17 PM

AARP is a member of the same “species” as ACORN/SEIU.

Nahanni on October 27, 2009 at 2:20 PM

Their junk comes to our mailbox and we just dump it. I never bother to open their mailings.
I loathe them truly.

FireBlogger on October 27, 2009 at 2:21 PM

I will never, ever join AARP, and I have instructed my wife to ignore them as well.

UltimateBob on October 27, 2009 at 12:17 PM

Are you implying that you have a wife who follows instructions?

Does she speak English?

Does she have a pretty sister?

Inquiring minds want to know. -_*

TXUS on October 27, 2009 at 2:24 PM

At least regular whores are a bit more honest about their transactions.

bbz123 on October 27, 2009 at 12:27 PM

SHA ZAYUMMM!!!

/hat tip

44Magnum on October 27, 2009 at 3:08 PM

I knew years ago when they put Danny Glover on the front of their cheesy magazine that I would never join them. To put an avowed American hating Marxist like him on the cover was so over the top that I tore the magazine in half and it was in a doctors office! The left has completely taken over AARP and like we all know the leftist in Congress take care of their fellow leftists in the private sector.

inspectorudy on October 27, 2009 at 3:32 PM

I don’t throw AARP mail away. I write what I think of them on their mail in unmistakable language and send it back to them when I have a reason to drop by a mailbox (i.e., Netflix drop off). At least then it cost them the postage fee.

RedinPDRM on October 27, 2009 at 4:38 PM

AARP provides postage paid return envelopes … use them folks! .. I always send them a beautuful assortment of cut up advertising with my name and address information removed.

I am sure they really appreciate my trouble as they keep sending me more postage paid return envelopes. Us old folks do what we can for the economy ….

Ghostbuster on October 27, 2009 at 6:26 PM

You can’t take an organization seriously when its name sounds like regurgitation.

landlines on October 28, 2009 at 2:23 AM

Hmmmm kinda sounds familiar.

– The Cat

MirCat on October 28, 2009 at 8:54 AM