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AARP’s Election Year Playbook on Social Security Means Seniors Lose

Posted on Wednesday, December 27, 2023
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by Outside Contributor
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81 Comments
Macro image of AARP homepage loaded on screen in web browser.

We are about a month away from the First in the Nation presidential primary, and special interest groups are out in full force to elevate their issues and put candidates on the spot. We all want clear answers from politicians on their intentions if they are elected, but we should also expect transparency from advocacy groups claiming to represent Granite Staters’ priorities.

As the Republican candidates participate in a Social Security town hall hosted by AARP, or the American Association of Retired Persons as they used to be known, it’s important that we examine what the alleged senior advocacy organization is all about.

Each election cycle, the AARP pulls out the same political playbook. It elevates threats to Social Security’s financial future to scare seniors and then positions itself as some type of savior for the program. And it’s probably been good marketing for them, considering they’ve been doing it for years. But like a bad politician or relative, AARP never offers or endorses new solutions to the actual problems they highlight. They just create panic and demand candidates pledge not to cut current seniors’ benefits even though few, if any, support doing so.

Why do it then?

Some would argue they do so intentionally, not so much for their membership’s benefit but more for AARP’s institutional political and financial gain. Despite casting itself as non-partisan, it’s no secret AARP’s agenda has trended leftward and become increasingly aligned with that of Democrat policymakers. And make no mistake, Democrats have their own blanket election-year playbook on Social Security – falsely accusing Republicans of wanting to make drastic and immediate cuts to the program irrespective of evidence to that end.

So, while AARP, through its advertising, events, and grassroots activities, feigns to elevate Social Security as simply an important discussion topic on the campaign trail, Democrats are usually waiting in the wings to level assaults against any opponent who publicly obliges AARP in even discussing it.

Sort of a good cop, bad cop scenario emerges.

But there are likely other reasons AARP focuses so much on Social Security, and less so on Medicare’s financial uncertainty these days. Both critical programs face challenges, but AARP’s questionable support for the Democrats’ so-called Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) that raided $280 billion in Medicare prescription savings is key among them. How does AARP present itself as an advocate dedicated to securing Medicare’s long-term solvency when it supported recent legislation that diverted billions obligated to beneficiaries that instead went to fund unrelated special interest programs?

It gets worse. In addition to using the IRA’s Medicare drug savings to pay for handouts like electric vehicle and solar panel tax credits, billions were reallocated to pay for large tax subsidies benefiting massive health insurers like AARP’s corporate benefactor, UnitedHealth. Equally astonishing, these climate and insurer subsidies were doled out immediately while the IRA provisions AARP and Democrats sold to seniors as a means to lower their drug costs had delayed implementation timeframes of two to five years. It was a huge win for Democrats and big insurers seeking a financial windfall but far less so for older Americans.

What AARP stays largely silent on is equally concerning. From bipartisan reforms to prevent big insurer-PBM middlemen from pocketing big drug discounts meant for patients and tying out-of-pocket medicine costs to pre-discounted list prices to failing to address allegations over billions in Medicare overcharges and AI-automated claims denials, AARP’s lack of aggressive engagement in holding big insurers accountable spurs more questions than answers.

All of this is important because AARP has evolved into a financial and political goliath, and its business relationship with UnitedHealth is no small affair. Nor are the concerns over the potential conflicts of interest this presents in terms of AARP’s advocacy and lobbying agendas. The organization now earns more than $1.1 billion a year in corporate royalties, most of which is attributable to UnitedHealth alone. All told, it is estimated that AARP has been paid well over $7 billion from its commercial deal with this single insurance and health services giant. It’s notable in this context that the company also happens to have the nation’s largest market share of Medicare Advantage customers.

These mutual political and financial benefits and agendas binding Democrats and big insurers like UnitedHealth and AARP together have led to increased scrutiny. Recent polling from McLaughlin & Associates of older Americans and AARP members demonstrated that a majority of voters 55 and older don’t agree with many of the organization’s positions or trust AARP on many levels due to its political alignment and corporate relationships.

No wonder AARP is trying to rebuild its trust. Older voters and candidates in New Hampshire should be very mindful to remember to always ask, AARP advocates for who, exactly?

Kate Day is a Republican activist and former Chair of the Cheshire County Republican Committee.

Reprinted with Permission from NH Journal – By Kate Day

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Joytodaworld
Joytodaworld
3 months ago

This why for over 5 years, I have been a member of AMAC. I saw through AARP long before that.

Cap'n Bob
Cap'n Bob
3 months ago

Sadly the general public (over 50) is unaware that they’re funding one of the most anti American organizations out there. AARP is a member of Woke, inc. in 5star status and proud that they fund the very teachers union and politics that believe that it’s a wonderful New experience if a pedophile molested their grandchildren (among a liteny of other woke action groups) AND THE WONDERFUL EXPERIENCE IS NOT JUST FOR THE PEDOPHILE! That is what the Obama appointee to the department of Education,who was in charge of school safety said when he was told about the high number of sexual predators living near or within elementary school zones and were caught continuously molesting children walking to and from school. And AARP was known to use their vast funding, not just from corporate”royalties”, but from over 70 years of membership dues invested to elect people like that. Spread the word because the sheep don’t know the voice of the good Shepherd and they blindly follow the same old ways over the cliff. THANK GOD FOR AMAC!

Larry
Larry
3 months ago

When I turned 50, I was sent stuff from AARP. I investigated further. On their website I caught that they opposed The 2nd Amendment. I contacted them for verification. Sure enough a guy got back to me and said it was true. They don’t believe a Senior should have the means to protect himself.
Since that time I have tried to warn those who believe in OUR rights… or hope they investigate for themselves.

GTPatriot
GTPatriot
3 months ago

Same old stuff. The dims will always dust off the usual scares:
“They (the repubs) want to take away your social security” You can always count on that one.

“The repubs are engaged in a war on women.” You’ll hear that although I think it has never obtained any traction.
But there are new ones including:

  1. reparations for blacks
  2. minimum stipends for the poor whether they work or not
  3. free schools, housing, medical for illegals

on and on. Its hard work being a communist because you must seek new victim groups and new ways to increase tax every day. You never get a day off.

Louis Thornton
Louis Thornton
3 months ago

I’ve been a member of AMAC since the first day I heard of the organization. I had dropped AARP long before that…if memory serves me I paid for a1 year membership when I turned 50 and did not renew.
My parents were in AARP for their Medicare supplement and from their dealings I discovered that AARP is in bed with insurance companies and they have made big bucks from that relationship.
In addition their woke liberal politics do not align with my views.
I think they are feeling the heat from AMAC, based on their current advertising campaign, “I don’t agree with everything AARP does, but….”
I’m not sure I agree with anything AARP does. I think they have been blinded by greed and turned from their original mission and it would be a service if they rode off into the sunset never to be heard from again!

Rod
Rod
3 months ago

AMAC is clearly the most trustful resource for Seniors ! AARP is clearly a resource for the Progressive Democrat leftists . Wake up people , learn about the philosophical differences between the two ! All AARP supporters should switch their allegiance to AMAC !

Nick
Nick
3 months ago

Aarp is nothing but an arm of the Democrat Party. They were 100% behind Obamacare. All they are in business for is to push the Democrat agenda and sell insurance. Thank goodness for AMAC

J. FARLEY
J. FARLEY
3 months ago

When I turned 55, the A-holes at AARP tried to suck me into joining their anti-Constitution organization and I saw they didn’t give a flip about my Constitutional rights all they think about is promoting their Democrat Base, as I have said before, I would rather have a bad case of Hemorrhoids, than be a member for 3-seconds, remember what AARP stands for:
A – A–holes
A – Against
R – Republican
R. – People
Save your money – don’t join
AMAC- Advertise on FOX or NEWSMAX!

Frank
Frank
3 months ago

If it wasn’t for AARP we would never had Obama Care. They helped it get passed and we are stuck with it.

David G Simonton
David G Simonton
3 months ago

I use to be a member of AARP until I joined AMAC about 10 years ago. I realized that I did not believe that AARP had my best interest in mind. I do however always go on their site and signup for their offers to encourage them to waste their money sending me their crap in the mail, which I simply throw away. I figure the more money they spend sending mailing to me the less they can use so support left leaning Democrats.

Robert
Robert
3 months ago

I switched from AARP to AMAC about 10 years ago because of what I discovered they were endorsing that you won’t find unless you dig deeper. I was a trainer, mentor and instructor for the Defensive Driving program. I loved doing it and felt bad about quitting the position. But I couldn’t support their anti Christian and socialist philosophy.

Thinking
Thinking
3 months ago

I stopped my husband’s membership after he passed away. We had just paid for 10 year membership. I was told I could not transfer it to my name nor get a refund of the 9+ years left on the subscription. I have nothing with AARP. This happened over 17 years ago and the drug part D on social security came through and how AARP handled that showed me that they were in the pocket of the dems. AARP has been weaponized just like every other dept in ole Joe’s administration. When I learned from the old governor of Arkansas about AMAC I joined it right away. Have been very happy with the membership and have dialogue every day with people of the same persuasion. I would never go back nor recommend AARP, they are not pro seniors they are PRO DOLLAR for themselves and the members contribute to that.

William Hodge
William Hodge
3 months ago

I never joined AARP due to their anti gun policies. I’d never be able to support anyone with non constitutional positions.

Charles A Boyer
Charles A Boyer
3 months ago

As the Republican candidates participate in a Social Security town hall hosted by AARP,…”
Hmmm. I wonder if AARP will sponsor Democrat candidates to a Social Security town hall, or is this just an exercise in trying to steer undecided voters away from Republicans and to Democrat voters?

RC100
RC100
3 months ago

I personally had a belly full of AARP when they pushed so hard for the Unaffordable Care Act debacle, otherwise known as Obama Doesn’t Care. I dumped AARP and found AMAC.

Garyk
Garyk
3 months ago

aarp is another marxist democrat party mouthpiece period!
They PRETEND to be non- partisan but remember actions speak louder than words.
Their financial choices are clearly NOT conservative or in seniors best interest!

Hammer
Hammer
3 months ago

Like the news media, AARP was hijacked by Libatards and turned into a Leftist propaganda arm for Progressives. AARPs commercials even go as far as to say so but then throw out they are going to help seniors with Social Security because they are experts. They go as far as to infer they are better at this than anyone else so forget about what else they are doing and trust them. Their commercials are astoundingly frank about how Americans dont agree with them but in the same breath ask us to trust them on Social Security. Ask yourself this, if I tell you I don`t agree with you on most issues would you let me handle one of your most sensitive issues you face that could control your future? I think not!

Melinda
Melinda
3 months ago

I’ve been an AMAC member since 2018, got tired of the liberal slant and useless info in AARP’s publications. In addition to items in the article, they also push stories about celebrities, most of whom I don’t know and don’t care about. I’m sure there’s some financial or political gain there too. Thanks, AMAC for giving us an alternative.

Ercell D Grooms
Ercell D Grooms
3 months ago

AMAC is great. I’ve been a member 43 years. Lots of good articles and news. In other words the Truth.

DenvilleSr
DenvilleSr
3 months ago

I was a member of AARP and drank the Kool-aid regarding United Healthcare. What I found out was that United Healthcare had neither the best prices nor acceptable customer service. In fact I had to get help from Medicare to force United Healthcare to refund money they had gotten from me that they were also collecting directly from Medicare on a part D plan. Imagine finding the government more help than a US corporation! I know several “former” United Healthcare customers who parted ways with them for a variety of reasons.

Lawrence
Lawrence
3 months ago

I belonged to AARP for many years. I received one magazine from them during that period. I would call and ask and they would promise and a magazine would not show up until they wanted me to renew my subscription. Third time was the charm and I move to Amac.

Robert Zuccaro
Robert Zuccaro
3 months ago

I haven’t trusted AARP since it (tit for tat) endorsed Obamacare so it could keep it’s gap insurance. Seen their recent commercials: “we may not agree with some things AARP supports but…” Some? Hahaha

Barb
Barb
3 months ago

I told AARP personnel years ago, I don’t want any of my money I’m paying for being an AARP member, to be used for anything Democrat. The AARP discount for hotels, etc. are good to have, but that is about all its good for. Oh, by the way, I never received a response from them. The only response my husband and I receive, is a bill in the mail to pay for the membership, two years in advance, now one year in advance, of the due date of January 2025. Apparently they don’t know that us older people do track when we paid, when the next bill is due. I get the magazine/booklet, I trash them. I get multiple, multiple emails weekly from AARP, I hit the delete button on every one.

TnT
TnT
3 months ago

I travel regularly and usually do not book in advance because you never can anticipate when traffic/illness/fatigue will hit you and you want to stop before or after the location of yourpre-booked hotel. So when I ask what discounts they offer I usually hear AARP, I then ask about AMAC–and they have never heard of them. Too bad AMAC is not getting their brochures into hotels/motels across the USA and offering on the spot savings at hotels/motels at the front desk. I truly think that if any Democrats actually read an issue of AMAC (while keeping their wits about them) they may come to their senses and consider joining AMAC and giving AARP the boot. Some liberal minded people are beginning to question why they are believing everything the mainstream media puppets say…AMAC could help them explore truthful reporting.

Tony
Tony
3 months ago

AARP ????, AMAC ????… AARP is just another arm of the liberal Demoncrap Party…

Enuf Said
Enuf Said
3 months ago

AARP has always been about THEM and whom they can get the largest kickbacks from–prime example Obama Care!

AmbersDaughter
AmbersDaughter
3 months ago

Interesting article. I have noticed that within the past month AARP is running TV Ads that begin with a person stating – “I may not always agree with AARP–BUT” The Ad is geared towards AARP leading in teaching all about Social Security. From the Ad I surmise that the General Membership of the AARP disagrees with AARP leadership positions. AARP just might be loosing members over their Social Security position. One can only hope!!!i

PFArizona
PFArizona
3 months ago

Fabulous article!
Is the IRA the reason that there will be a reduction in Medicare payments to our Doctors Jan.1! This is unfair to doctors who are taking care of the elderly citizens!
Democrats cannot be trusted to care for its elderly Medicare citizens! Contact your legislators please and tell them not to reduce payments to our doctors!

Philip Seth Hammersley
Philip Seth Hammersley
3 months ago

AS I understand it, AARP started out as solely an insurance peddler. Then they morphed into a “seniors’ organization.” So they are true to their ORIGINAL motivation–make money from seniors!

Commentary
Commentary
3 months ago

I dropped my AAARP membership long ago and joined AMAC but I still hold United Health supplement insurance. At my age I doubt I could or should change. Any advice?

Cuthbert
Cuthbert
3 months ago

AARP is a demonstrated enemy of older Americans.

Lynda
Lynda
3 months ago

I stopped subscribing to AARP 5 years ago. I definitely don’t agree with their many political views. I wish other Americans would wake up to the fact AARP has grown and no longer in favor of senior citizens. They sold out to Democrats and their agenda.

NAncy
NAncy
3 months ago

Its not the first time that AARP has raked the American people over the coals.It’s to bad the all Americans are unable to see what they are doing.

Elaine
Elaine
3 months ago

I left AARP when they backed the Obama care bill. Any and everything he and Pelosi proposed was detrimental to all of the US citizens.

Dave W
Dave W
3 months ago

I cancelled my AARP membership in 2010 once I found out they supports Obama care. They are a left organization masquerading as conservative. They support seniors like scaffolding for a hangman’s noose.

Granny26
Granny26
3 months ago

I dumped AARP when they endorsed obamacare.

paul
paul
3 months ago

anyone that supports aarp is a fool obama promised them a billion dollars to support obamacare they did they sold out seniors and they never got the money so much for politicians

Lori
Lori
3 months ago

Another corrupt organization ripping people off, hope the public wakes up to what is going on around them.

Steven
Steven
3 months ago

Having been a member of AARP for 25 years before joining AMAC I noticed their leftist leanings while trying to appear nonpartisan. When it became clear that they were becoming an arm of the Democrat Party I knew that I had to leave. Their corporate partnership with United Health Care was the final straw for me.

Jack Thomas
Jack Thomas
3 months ago

It was obvious years ago that AARP’s primary interest wasn’t American seniors but rather filling its coffers with billions from the health insurance market and currying favor with the Democrat left. That much became apparent when AARP endorsed the Affordable Care Act, commonly known as “Obamacare” which represented the first step toward a single-payer system — run by the federal government. AARP’s agenda was then and is today entirely self-serving.

Elaine
Elaine
3 months ago

How Ironic! AARP’S hype was that they were invested in helping the Senior Citizens to guard against the ripping off of the Elder population. With them there would be a savings on car and home insurance, discounts on hotel reservations, transportation, etc. They tout how being a member of AARP, the savings would allow some recreational savings to make travel and vacations affordable. Didn’t happen on this end of the spectrum and the sales pitch continues to grab newly retired people of how great they are!
Obama Care was the first big lie that I finally caught on to the LIE! (I’m obviously a too trusting slow learner.)

pamela
pamela
3 months ago

I figured out AARP about 10 yrs ago and said bye bye. They are way way woke and to the left. Not for me.

Monica
Monica
3 months ago

I was on AARP United Health Care Supplemental insurance for one year. It was great for hospital stays but when it came to the drug portion it was too high. Considering it is $220.00 a month so I switched to an Advantage plan with another source. Yes, if you have high medical bills it helps but my drug coverage is worth it.I worked in the medical field my entire adult life and now can barely pay for medical expenses. Since I am in my 70’s I was searching for retirement homes or communities and they are too expensive. Unless you end up in a state home you need a minimum of $500,000 to get in. The inflation has brought what savings I have down to almost nothing. We didn’t have an option for a 401k until I was in my 40’s since the hospital where I worked didn’t offer it.

Rich
Rich
3 months ago

I said good riddance to AARP years ago and thank you to AMAC. Unfortunately far too many seniors still support AARP and their “holly wood” ideals.

Brenda
Brenda
3 months ago

When I turned 50 AARP would send me their magazine.I kept calling asking them to please take my name off their list as I didn’t want anything to do with the organization.Finally they obliged
I know several people who are with united health care aligned with AARP.
I keep telling them they are supporting left wing agendas that they say they don’t believe in.ihave also given them AMAC info..some people think with their pocket book as united thru AARP promised a 5 yr lock in rate for a medigap plan.
I do believe though that alot of people don’t know about AMAC and you need to do more advertising.

April "S"
April "S"
3 months ago

Happy New Year, everyone! Despite blocking Absolutely Arrogant Repugnant Progressives, (AARP) from my email and telling them repeatedly that I’m not interested, I still get junk email from them. My sister and Mom are members of AARP and they’ve been trying to get me to join it, the former offering to pay for a membership. I told her to keep her money since I’m with AMAC and like it better. I told a friend about AMAC and he said that he never heard of it, not even while listening to Dan Bongino on terrestrial radio, (before it was discontinued at the radio station where Bongino was aired). I told him that mainstream media won’t advertise AMAC and is why he was unfamiliar with it. AMAC tells it like it is that it’s the GODLESS, LEFTIST DEMOCRATS running AARP who come up with scare tactics designed to garner support for their political agenda at the expense of those they claim to care about. AMAC is the stuff!

johnh
johnh
3 months ago

Good article, but would be better if AMAC stance on this issue is compared piece by piece. Congress is the one who is failing, as they have not made any changes for ? many years and just keep kicking this down the road to the next election.

Charlotte Mahin
Charlotte Mahin
3 months ago

AARP is definitely pro-Democrat and it has gotten worse the last 10 years. I am a member of AMAC but I also still use AARP. There are some services and information that I like to see. I do think AARP is losing subscribers because I notice they are now using advertising on TV in which the person states they may not agree with some of AARP’s opinions but they like other things about it. Guess that is how I feel. I ignore anything I see that goes down the biased Democrat path.

Smike
Smike
3 months ago

To tell the truth, I am very disappointed in Amac. I’m a life member, I felt you had potential. I didn’t join to be a part of any political party. I joined because I felt you were representing seniors. Exactly what have you given me for my lifetime membership that AARP doesn’t? You are both politically oriented organizations. This Newsline is a joke. It was a hole for the discontent to howl and rave before and it hasn’t changed. Most of your articles are a week or two behind breaking news and so bias I can’t accept it. It’s not news, it a bog, it’s a bunch of stories you select that support Amac ideology. Give me the news straight and I’ll decide – don’t tell me what I should think. Don’t tell me this is wrong or this is right, I can hear that on CNN and Foxnews after 30 minutes of advertising. Your mission is representing “Seniors”, if you don’t want to do that then refund our membership and we’ll find an organization where seniors are the primary mission.

RBost
RBost
3 months ago

AARP, Red Cross even Salvation Army are Leftist. Dropping AARP, rolling AMAC going forward. AARP has an enormous, gargantuan lobby, however. Huge.

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