Morgen on June 13, 2009 at 3:34 pm
The White House announced today that they have somehow found $313B in savings over 10 years to help offset the costs of the President’s healthcare reform agenda. This is on top of the $635B “down payment” on health reform which was already included in the 2010 budget, split about evenly between “revenue enhancements” and program cuts. (A good breakdown of the total is available here.)
What I find most interesting about the announcement today is that the “savings” detailed by the President are focused entirely within the Medicare and Medicaid programs. Let me translate all this using less Orwellian terms – the Administration is proposing $313B in CUTS to the Medicare and Medicaid programs over the next 10 years! And this is on top of another $300B in CUTS which had already been proposed! Just imagine the uproar from the other side of the aisle had a Republican President or Congress announced over $600B in cuts to Medicare/Medicaid – or even hinted at it. Medicare and Medicaid are the sacred cows of liberalism – the supposedly untouchable “third rail” of U.S. politics.
Which led me to wonder – where exactly does the AARP stand on all of this? Historically, you could always count on a massive PR and advertising blitz from the AARP for any proposed legislation which might negatively impact their constituency. In retrospect, it actually seems a little odd that they seemingly have not weighed in on the current discussion over healthcare reform.
Well, it turns out they have. In 2007, the AARP joined forces with the Service Employee International Union (SEIU), led by Andy Stern, to launch a $60+ million promotional campaign called “Divided We Fail” to advance an agenda within their membership base centered around universal healthcare. And while the AARP ostensibly claims to be non-partisan, the SEIU makes no such pretense. In fact they are solidly behind the President’s health reform plans including the public insurance “option”.
Which raises the question whether the underlying purpose of the Divided We Fail campaign might be something a little more nefarious. Has the AARP engaged in a proactive campaign to reign in any opposition on the part of seniors to the Democrats’ plans for healthcare reform? Do they really support the Administration’s planned expansion of coverage for the uninsured, even at the direct expense of the seniors they claim to represent?
Last September the AARP sponsored a research report entitled: “Millions of Low-Income Adults Can’t Get Medicaid; So What’s the Answer?“. I’m not exactly sure when or why the AARP entered the debate over government entitlement programs for adults of all ages. But thanks to the President’s announcement today we now know the answer to their question. The Administration is indisputably planning on expanding health insurance coverage through substantial cuts in the Medicare and Medicaid programs. Cuts that, no matter the spin coming out of Washington about productivity and efficiency, can only mean that healthcare products and services will have to be rationed amongst an even larger pool of beneficiaries.
Here’s my question. Seniors, are you going to just stand by and let the AARP represent your position on this?