PAY NO ATTENTION TO AARP'S SQUEALS OF PAIN

Curtis Ellis slams pre-existing fraud of so-called non-profit advocate group

Washington operatives like to pose as selfless advocates defending the public against the greedy.

Upon closer examination you find these virtuous self-proclaimed selfless tribunes of the people are in it for the money every bit as much as those they righteously denounce.

And if the operatives have a household name, they get away with it. Who would question an outfit “everyone agrees” is good?

Take, for example, AARP, previously known as the American Association of Retired People. By its own estimates, AARP has more than 38 million dues-paying members, many of them collecting Social Security and Medicare.

The AARP has carefully cultivated its image as a non-profit advocate of retirees and older Americans, an image the major media dutifully presents.

In fact, AARP is in the insurance business. It’s the largest provider of insurance to Medicare recipients, raking in more money from insurance than from member dues.

This is no accident. AARP was born as a partnership between a former California schoolteacher who wanted to promote health insurance and the founder of the Colonial Penn Group insurance companies.

The AARP’s insurance marketing schemes made it the subject of a 1978 exposé by 60 Minutes.

In the 1990s AARP pushed Congress to expand Medicare to cover so-called “catastrophic conditions.” Senator John McCain slammed AARP’s advocacy as self-serving: “AARP is more than just a nonprofit advocacy organization; it is in the prescription drug business, and stood to make millions if prescription drugs remained a part of the catastrophic bill. So they had more than an objective opinion on this issue. To my mind, this profitable sideline of AARP’s clearly raised questions about whether AARP’s advocacy represented a conflict of interest.”

The drive for catastrophic coverage eventually failed, but AARP didn’t. It helped pass the Medicare Part D prescription drug benefit, then profited immensely as the #1 provider of Part D insurance plans.

AARP went on to endorse Obamacare, even though it cut $500 million from Medicare. Or perhaps because it cut Medicare. The cuts helped push seniors to buy Medigap insurance to cover the shortfalls in coverage. Guess who sold those plans? That’s right – AARP.

Obamacare exempted Medigap plans from discriminating against people with pre-existing conditions, and AARP has driven a Brink’s truck through that loophole, selling plans that deny coverage to people with pre-existing conditions. It lobbies against any changes to Obamacare.

AARP is expert at the Washington two-step: With one hand, it advocates for government health care policies supposedly in the public interest, then with the other hand it makes a killing selling insurance tailored to the policies it advocates.

Deception is a favored weapon in the dark arts of Washington politics: masquerade as something you’re not and conceal your true interests.

That’s what AARP is doing when it presents itself as a disinterested advocate, when it is in fact a profit-oriented business.

When the AARP squeals about changes to the Government-Healthcare Complex status quo, it’s because it profits handsomely off that status quo.