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Re: Disappointed - where is the voice of the membership in solutions?

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Mark

 

welcome to a society where there are solutions that are politically motivated (taking a position for reasons that are usually not the best TECHNICAL solution) vs solutions that are based on the principle "the greatest good for the most."  Those who espouse the latter will always suffer the disappointment you have expressed.  I feel ya bro.  This is not an age for intelligent welfare-minded people.

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Re: Disappointed - where is the voice of the membership in solutions?

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Mark,

 

Thanks for the thoughtful post. We appreciate your membership of 11 years, your engagement and your questions. 

 

We hope that in a few short paragraphs we can change the disappointment you felt into a better understanding of the many ways your organization continues to expand, experiment, develop, communicate and innovate.

 

AARP advocacy is broad in scope in order to serve the development of its diverse programs.  For many of our more than 38 million members, their exposure to AARP’s activities and policies are limited solely to the mail and email they receive.  The petitions and donation requests you mentioned are created as one part of our ongoing advocacy and fundraising efforts.  The petitions provide an easy way for active members who may not be familiar with their representatives to become engaged in the legislative process. 

 

However, this represents just small part of the organization’s outreach.  AARP continues to promote and inform its members and the public-at-large through the web at AARP.org, television, radio, print, social media, podcasts and community forums like this one in which you participate.

 

For example, in addition to the mail voter petitions, AARP has just launched a comprehensive voter engagement campaign to help inform the 50-plus population about the critical issues at stake in the mid-term elections and encourage them to participate.  You can find out more on this new initiative at: https://www.aarp.org/politics-society/government-elections/.

 

AARP policies are guided by the needs of our members and all those 50-plus.  The AARP Public Policy Institute informs and stimulates public debate on the issues we face as we age. The Institute promotes the development of sound, creative policies to address our common need for economic security, health care, and quality of life.  This is the “problem solving/resource center” about which you asked.  You can see an in-depth review of the work of the Public Policy Institute, including the process by which AARP policy is determined and blogs from several Public Policy staff about caregiving, financial security, healthcare and pharmaceuticals at: https://www.aarp.org/ppi/.  Through the Public Policy page you can also view the AARP Policy Book which details all AARP Policy on Federal, State and local initiatives.

 

Many are surprised to learn that AARP is not just Washington, DC-focused.  We have offices in every state capital, and all U.S. territories.  These offices and their talented staff provide advocacy for state and local initiatives, similar to the manner in which we develop national policy and advocacy in DC, as well as local events and volunteer opportunities.  You can find out more about your state office at: https://www.aarp.org/states/.

 

The AARP Foundation is your organization’s division charged with helping the nation’s most vulnerable population. For many Americans age 50 and older, a single event – a lost job, a health crisis, the loss of a spouse or partner – can quickly lead to catastrophic circumstances on many fronts. We don’t want anyone to have to choose between eating and keeping the lights on or seeking medical care. That’s why AARP Foundation has identified four interrelated priority areas where we can have the greatest impact: hungerincomehousing, and isolation. This work is supported by a longstanding commitment to legal advocacy on behalf of older Americans everywhere.  The AARP Foundation continues to help those 50+ get back to work, provides free tax preparation services nationwide, and trains and provides senior literacy volunteers to help thousands of elementary school children develop their reading skills.  You can read more about these and many other Foundation programs at: https://www.aarp.org/aarp-foundation/our-work/.

 

Finally, we noticed that you mentioned that your health insurance premiums have risen.  You stated that it may be due to a pre-existing condition.  That would be illegal (after 2014: https://www.hhs.gov/healthcare/about-the-aca/pre-existing-conditions/index.html/) per the Affordable Care Act, a piece of legislation AARP and its membership helped to pass.  However, protections against higher premiums or acceptance in an insurance plan for those with pre-existing conditions can change (https://www.aarp.org/ppi/info-2017/affordable-care-act-protects-millions-of-older-adults-with-pre-ex...). AARP fought for you back in 2010 and we continue that fight for affordable, quality healthcare, Medicare and Medicaid.

 

Our hope is that some of the resources provided here will give you a greater perspective on how your organization develops policy, innovates for the future and advocates for AARP members and all those 50+. 

 

Thanks for the post.

AARPTeri
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Re: Disappointed - where is the voice of the membership in solutions?

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@mleuba  Hi Mark,

 

I took a quick glance at that mailing and tossed it into the recycle box precisely because like you, I have come to feel AARP's politics have become rigid and I do not feel that is what is going to bring about solutions.

 

Also, I can and do write my own letters. Smiley Happy

 

Anyway, I am glad you posted here and hope you will continue to do so.

 

Best,

Epster

 

PS This subject probably belongs in the Politics and Society forum. That's unlikely to net you the kind of conversation you desire, however. So I'm gonna suggest the Random Conversations forum to the moderator. Smiley Happy

 

"The key to success is to keep growing in all areas of life - mental, emotional, spiritual, as well as physical." Julius Erving
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Disappointed - where is the voice of the membership in solutions?

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This post unfortunately did not "fit" into one of the allowed categories, so I am posting it in Retirement, maybe the board moderator can create a folder on Policy, or Solutions.

 

Admittedly I have not been active in AARP, although a member with my wife since 2007.  I am still working and other things have attracted my time and attention. 

 

The quality of AARP communication and the marketing have always seemed good and even getting better.  I feel the value of a community of mature adults is an awesome idea.   But a recent mailing for a political campaign I received this weekend from AARP's CEO has me wondering about the organization.  Specifically I am talking about a message regarding possible Medicare and Medicaid reforms with enclosed messages pre-addressed to my congress members opposing any attempts to cut Medicare benefits or shift costs to older Americans.   

 

As to me, I’m not wealthy but retirement is looking doable with a decent life style.   We self-pay our medical insurance, which has gone up repeatedly these last years to now about $2500 monthly for my wife and myself, at the lowest level program we could find in our state.   Part of my cost is no doubt related to pre-existing conditions, which I have, but actually I am a pretty healthy sixty one year old.    So, I am really motivated to have lower cost health care, but what is the best way to go about that?  Does AARP have the right approach?  Its somewhat blind advocacy concerns me, a lot.

 

My perception of AARP has been as an advocate for older Americans.  I actually only learned today (as I’m writing) that AARP at some point decided to internationalize and so the “American” part of AARP is de-emphasized. That’s fine with me as this could be a service every older person could benefit from. 

 

My concern at the moment is the brute-power advocacy.  How does AARP establish its positions?  Does it really represent what is best for older persons?  Or more importantly even, does it really represent what its members believe and want?   What voice does the membership have in the setting of these so-called representative points of view?  I hope its more than I suspect.

 

What I see with the recent mail blast about Medicare/Medicaid, which is actually a request for financial contributions to AARP for a broader fight on the topic, is the bad-style form of lobbying that people complain about made famos by well-known political influence machines (you all know their names).   Is that what we want from AARP?  Really?  Just another Washington lobby with a take no prisoners approach?   There is a better option. 

 

Why not use the incredible potential, knowledge, education and experience of this group to actually help solve the problems?  Anyone that has read this far into this post understands that 'Washington speak' is often not the truth.  Important details get omitted or obfuscated.  In Washington, a “cut” is more likely a slowing of growth, not an actual cut.  Why did the hyperbolic AARP mailing not point out that there are in fact many different options to adjust Medicare, Medicate, Disability Insurances and Social Security programs that many (if not most) thoughtful people would agree with, and want to lobby for, if they understood that doing nothing meant saddling future generations with our unsolved problems, with the result being they pay our debts, dramatically lowering their standards of living?  We sometimes hear of younger generations as self-absorbed, maybe we should look in the mirror.

 

So I am disappointed is all.  An opportunity wasted when a large, successful and apparently well financed organization settles for shallow advocacy rather than what is really needed, thoughtful solutions.   This isn’t leadership, at least not the kind we need now.  Why not use AARP resources to help find solutions?   What do you think?

Regards,

Mark

 

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