AARP talks a good game about reforming healthcare for seniors. But I believe them about as far as you can throw a concrete block
Recently, they wrote to me asking me to enlist in their "Divided We Fail" healthcare "reform" effort by sending them money.
I wrote back to say their current "Divided We Fail" campaign is nothing but a vacuous plan with no substance, demanded by a company that shills profit-making medical insurance. Did I get back a reply? I sure did. But it was either from an illiterate or a robot.
Hey, I could be wrong, but I’ll let you draw your own conclusions, by letting you read the correspondence between me and AARP.
AARP started it all when
they sent me this e-mail:
Dear Crank [Real name redacted],
We have recently written you about the growing health care problem in the United States. As you know, in these difficult economic times, millions of Americans, especially those over 50, are finding it harder then ever to get by.
Meanwhile, health care costs are spiraling out of control, and many Americans are being forced to split pills, postpone medical treatment and even forego necessary medications. This is just not right!
We need to cure our ailing health care system – and you can help by supporting the most aggressive grassroots effort in AARP history – Divided We Fail. Through this massive effort, we will demand actions, answers and accountability from our leaders in Washington.
But, we can only succeed and create change with the support of AARP members like you. Can we count on you?
Support our work by clicking here now to give a secure, online gift. There is a lot of work to be done – and membership dues don’t go far enough – but with your gift of $15 today, we can continue our work to:
Lower the Cost of Prescription Drugs. Since 2001, the average price of prescription drugs has grown at more than double the rate of general inflation.
Keep Medicare Premiums Fair. Monthly Medicare premiums have doubled since 2000.
Improve Patient Care …and Provide Better Options for Long-Term Care. Patient care is more than caring for you when you are sick. It is also about keeping you from getting ill in the first place, and helping you avoid more costly health procedures.
Please contribute today. Peter, your online gift is urgently needed to help us make quality, affordable health care a reality for all Americans – especially seniors!
Individually, we accomplish little. But when we stand together, we can accomplish anything. Divided, we fail.
Thank you for your help in this and all our legislative efforts.
Sincerely,I thought, “This is pure bullpoop."
Chief Executive Officer
And I replied via e-mail with this:
Absolutely not! AARP fought for the lousy drug plan we have now. The so-called "divided we fail" message says nothing. "Tell your Congressman to fix this mess?" All you do is denigrate Congress and further the division. How should Congress fix the mess? You never say, do you?Then somebody
When AARP sponsors a single payer plan for all Americans, and negotiated prices with drug companies, then I'll support you. Until then, so far as I'm concerned, AARP is nothing but a shill for an insurance agent who manages his own finances so ineptly (or perhaps greedily) that he has to go begging for money.
— or some thing —
at AARP replied to me.
The reply, as you’ll see, had nothing to do with my complaint that AARP is in effect pretending to sponsor nonspecific "legislation," while its interests lie with leaving healthcare and the Medicare drug plan in the hands of the insurance companies. Here is AARP's reply:
Dear Mr. Crank, [Real name redacted] Thank you for your message sharing concerns that a donation is required before signing our online petitions. We have shared your message with our web activist team and it's my pleasure to clarify this issue.Huh? Is AARP staffed by illiterates or robots?
We apologize for any confusion our online messages have caused. You are not required to provide a donation in order to sign our petitions. We are grateful for any support you can provide, be it through signing our petitions, getting involved through volunteer work, or making monetary contributions. Your involvement is key to our progress and we look forward to your continued support.
Occasionally, we send messages to activists like you requesting donations to help with our advocacy work. Additionally, upon signing our petitions, you are sometimes sent a follow-up message requesting a donation, or you are immediately directed to a new page thanking you for your signature and also providing the opportunity to make a donation via our online form. We recognize that many of our activists are facing financial hardship, and we understand completely if you are unable to contribute monetarily.
Again, as with all of our efforts, we are thankful for your involvement and with your help, we will gain the strength to convince Congress to ease some of the financial burdens our members are facing.
I hope this message clarifies this issue for you. We look forward to continuing our relationship with you and working to positively impact the lives of our members, their families and society as a whole. It is the combined interest, energy and commitment from members like you that gives AARP the power to make life better.
Hilda Member Communications
Toll-free 1-888-OUR-AARP (1-888-687-2277)
Toll-free 1-877-434-7598 TTY
Be a champion for change! AARP's Divided We Fail initiative is amplifying the voices of millions of Americans who believe that health care and long-term financial security are the most pressing domestic issues facing our nation. Demand action and answers from elected officials and candidates by signing the Divided We Fail pledge at http://www.dividedwefail.org/pledge
Beats me, but I sent a reply to “Hilda.” Here it is:
Dear "Hilda," Did AARP give you a reading comprehension exam before they hired you? Or, before they plugged you in if, as I suspect, you're a machine?Will Hilda have a meltdown?
My message made no mention whatsoever of donations. What I had to say is repeated in the next paragraph. Incidentally, I think your reply is such an obvious non sequitur and example of how AARP isn't listening to its own membership that I plan to post our correspondence on my blog, The New York Crank [Http://TheNewYorkCrank.blogspot.com] within the next 24 hours.
Here's what I said:
>>Absolutely not! AARP fought for the lousy drug plan we have now. The so-called "divided we fail" message says nothing. "Tell your Congressman to fix this mess?" All you do is denigrate Congress and further the division. How should Congress fix the mess? You never say, do you? When AARP sponsors a single payer plan for all Americans, and negotiated prices with drug companies, then I'll support you. Until then, so far as I'm concerned, AARP is nothing but a shill for an insurance agent who manages his own finances so ineptly (or perhaps greedily) that he has to go begging for money.<<
Thanks for providing the provocation for me to post our correspondence on my blog.
The New York Crank [Real name redacted]
Will AARP ever meaningfully address
the needs of its members? Stay tuned.
So far I haven’t heard back from “Hilda,” much less from Bill Novelli, who is not only the CEO of AARP but also the co-founder of a national PR firm that for some weird but unexplained reason (maybe you can guess) doesn’t publish its client list on the web. http://www.porternovelli.com/index.aspx
If you want truly meaningful drug legislation — a no-hole drug benefit, universal healthcare and a single payer system, let AARP know about it. Send them a blistering note at Member@aarp.org.
Tell them the New York Crank sent you.