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5 Things AARP Does For Seniors

Rep. Paul Ryan and the GOP began attacking AARP this week as a “left wing” group. CLICK HERE FOR ARTICLE. And I took particular personal issue with this, because I was able to become a gerontologist because of AARP back in 1975. So — what is AARP and what does it do?

The American Association of Retired Persons, has 40 million members and acts as an advocate for seniors citizens in the United States. Their stated vision is “a country that is free of poverty where no older person feels vulnerable.” This membership organization was born at a time when seniors were vulnerable to poverty due to lack of adequate, affordable health care. They have 40 million American Senior members.

And what does that $16 a year membership fee seniors pay go for?

1. Grants for research involved in the field of aging

– alzheimers research, diabetes, heart disease, caregiving. They also provides scholarships to those involved in the field of aging.

(Nothing particularly left wing there I can see there)

2. Provides direct services to seniors including but not limited to:

free tax preparation and counseling
work training for older people of low income
training of volunteers on matters concerning the elderly crime prevention
safe driving.

(Nothing left wing about that, unless safe driving has become a communist plot when I wasn’t looking.)

3. Provides a wealth of information to seniors on social, political and economic issues affecting them.

(Unless fraud prevention or discount travel coupons have become a left wing plot, I’m still not seeing it.)

4. AARP Services, its profit making division, offers Medicare supplemental health insurance, discounts on prescription drugs and consumer goods, entertainment and travel packages, long-term care insurance and automobile, home and life insurance.

Why does ARRP do this? The AARP name on a product means they’ve investigated the quality of the product and continue to monitor the quality control over the products and services made available by the providers they endose. In other words, they’re watching these companies on behalf of America’s Seniors.

According to AARP’s 2008 Consolidated financials, they were paid $652,000,000 in royalties from insurance companies that sold products referred by AARP. They also received an additional $120,000,000 for the ads placed in its publications. These funds were then reinvested in programs for seniors.

(Well, I guess if the GOP thinks having a private profit making entity that partners with private companies for the purpose of ensuring quality control for seniors and then using the profits from that to fund research on aging, is a socialist plan – then I guess this would be it. Bit I’m still not seeing it)

5. Advocates Congress on behalf of Seniors

It advocates Congress on behalf of its 40 million members. But it does not advocate for private gain; it advocates on behalf of seniors. Why? Why do seniors need a group to advocate of their behalf? Because every corporation in American lobbies on its behalf. In 2009, when health care reform was being considered – the insurance industry spent $164 million on 1,027 lobbyist fighting for 192 corporations. They spent $164 million dollars to lobby your Congresspeople in one year. $164 million! Clearly businesses have a voice in Washington – without AARP, you would have none.

(If advocating on behalf of the best interests of seniors has become a “left wing” project – then the country is in big trouble.)

So why do Paul Ryan and the GOP want to discredit the American Association of Retired Persons?

Simple, the GOP wants to replace Medicare with a voucher system. And the GOP learned during the health care debate that the best way to discredit something is to call it “government run” or “socialist” or “left wing,” when it clearly is not.

It’s much more difficult for distortions and untruths to be spread when AARP is disseminating accurate information about the GOP plan to turn Medicare into a voucher system.
The American Association of Retired Persons launched ads last week (Beginning May 2, 2011) warning against “harmful cuts” to Medicare and Social Security. They are also providing accurate and detailed information to their 40 million members on their website, through the magazine. And the GOP does not like that because it prevents them from “revamping” Medicare and Social Security with a voucher system.

AARP is the last line of defense seniors have against those who would decimate Social Security and Medicare.

We support AARP.

Click here to join AARP today and keep your parents and your future safe.

About Georgeana Mimms

Georgeana Mimms was a researcher at the Social Policy Lab of the Andrus Gerontology Center at the University of Southern California, Deputy Director of the Asociation Pro Personas Mayores and a Special Consultant to the Los Angeles County Area Agency on Aging.