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EDITORIAL: Time to take a closer look at AARP

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For years, progressive politicians and groups have tried to prove the more effective conservative groups are just fronts for monied interests and corporate America. They’ve alleged time and again, without proof that the National Rifle Association the nation’s largest mass membership civil rights group is merely a tool of the firearms industry. Or that certain research and advocacy groups that question climate change at any level are beholden to the oil companies and are doing their bidding in exchange for contributions.

As a strategy for winning the hearts and minds of the American people, it works. What’s puzzling is why the right has never tried to replicate these tactics. It may be the time and expense involved is discouraging. Nevertheless, it’s time for a change in tactics — for the right to use the channels available to it to communicate to its own people that some of the groups which they think are non-aligned are actually working against their interests.

A report recently compiled on the AARP, formerly the American Association of Retired Persons, provides a golden opportunity to go on offense. Thanks to its millions of members, the group is one of the most powerful lobbies in Washington. Almost nothing happens concerning health care or prescription drugs that they have not blessed which has made the abolition of Obamacare difficult if not impossible.

But what if, as the study, “A Commitment to Seniors” conducted by Jupiter Research for American Commitment suggests, this supposedly grassroots group is a front for a health insurance company that routinely “puts profits over patients and principles.”

AARP’s membership and the politicians whom they are called on to influence have a right to know. What if the group has, as the author of the study suggests, “grown into a marketing and sales firm with a public policy advocacy group on the side,” don’t its members and the politicians whom they seek to influence have a right to know? What if AARP is so deeply in bed with the nation’s largest health insurer, as the report which is available at www.commitmenttoseniors.org — charges has led to the abandonment of “seniors and vulnerable patients who have placed their trust in the organization”?

It’s time for a closer look. If AARP has abandoned its original mission in favor of becoming a tax-exempt subsidiary of a major health insurer, Congress, the IRS, and the people should probably be told. Someone in a position of authority ought to ask.

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