AARP Health Reform Stance Alienates (Some) Members
Some “60,000 people have canceled their AARP memberships since July 1, angered over the group’s position on health care,” CBS News reports.
Many are switching to the American Seniors Association, a group that calls itself the conservative alternative as CBS News Investigative Correspondent Sharyl Attkisson reports. Last week alone, they added more than 5,000 new members. Our camera was there Friday when the mail came. Letters were filled with cut-up AARP cards.
“I think that probably the seniors are most upset with cuts in Medicare,” said ASA President Stuart Barton. The American Seniors Association is flat-out against President Obama’s plan, which calls for $313 billion dollars in Medicare cuts over ten years. The AARP is widely viewed as supporting the President.
Last week, Obama told a town meeting in Portsmouth, NH, “We have the AARP on board because they know this is a good deal for our seniors.” The AARP called the President’s statements “inaccurate,” saying it hasn’t endorsed any plan or bill. Some were left with the feeling that AARP was waffling. “I feel they’re supporting it through the backdoor, and telling members that they’re not through the front door,” said Guardiani.
AARP says for a group with 40 million members that adds hundreds of thousands each month, losing 60 thousand is just a drop in the bucket. But to the much smaller American Seniors Association it’s a flood.
Right . . . .
So, the AARP has lost 1.5 percent of its membership? And replaced them with multiples of that over the same period? I’m not sure that’s really noteworthy. How many people quit the organization in a typical month, anyway? CBS doesn’t say.
The AARP has a huge amount of clout because it can claim to represent a huge number of people. The dirty little secret — oft told but seldom mentioned when such controversies arise — is that 99 percent* of the AARP’s membership join for the various discounts that the ridiculously cheap membership fee brings, completely oblivious to the political stances of the leadership.
As an aside, I’m amused that a so-called “conservative” AARP alternative is bitching about cuts in Medicare, a program conservatives naturally opposed for the same reasons they’re opposing ObamaCare. A massive entitlement program for a fast-growing demographic which is fiscally unsustainable is many things; conservative is not among them.
*Note: I totally made this number up. But it’s probably close to accurate.