Medicare Part D & the AARP

I’m not going to go into the history and complexities of Medicare Part D other than to remind you that it helps provide prescription drugs for senior citizens and that it was passed into law in 2003 under the Bush Administration and went into effect in 2006.

When it was being debated I remember being undecided about whether to support it. Can’t recall all the arguments but I do remember siding with the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP). I wrongfully assumed they were a spokesman for senior citizen concerns and their recommendations would have the senior citizen’s interest at heart.

At the time AARP was arguing against adoption of the bill so my wife and I wrote them a check and became dues paying members to help them in their fight to do the right thing for the nation’s elderly population.

We received our membership cards, along with a subscription to their monthly magazine. With a quick flip of the magazine’s pages it became somewhat obvious that the AARP wasn’t just a lobby for old people, it may have been just a cover up or facade for what it’s turned out to be, an insurance agency.

Coming out of a restaurant while traveling in New England, I saw the headlines of  US Today in a newspaper vending box. In bold print it pronounced that the AARP had reversed its position on Medicare Part D and was now favoring it. Further investigation brought me to learn that as the bill was reaching its final form it was becoming increasingly advantageous to insurance companies and their agents.

Looking back at the consequences of the bill’s passage into law I have reached a few conclusions. First, it was a totally unfunded and extremely costly federal program and has played more than a minor role in our current deficit problems, it is popular with seniors because it does help defray the cost of medicines, it has been a boon to pharmaceutical companies and insurance providers, and we vowed to never renew our membership in AARP nor buy any of the insurance policies they advertise in their damned old people’s magazine.

Finally, I should have known better about AARP when they sent me a membership invitation when I turned 50. At 50 I didn’t consider myself a senior citizen or old. And, I wasn’t retired. It angered me and I should have stayed angered.

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