Lobbying organization AARP’s support for changes to the nation’s health care system has cost the group thousands of members, and is now implementing a campaign to persuade seniors that it is an impartial advocate for the health care consumer.
“To be clear: AARP has not endorsed any comprehensive health care reform bill — but we are fighting for a solution that improves health care for our members,” said CEO Barry Rand and president Jennie Chin Hansen.
Many of the approximately 60,000 AARP members to resign their membership since July fear that changes to the health care system would result in cuts to Medicare. AARP has not endorsed any specific plan, but its support for improvements in health care gave many members the impression that it supports President Obama’s plan. The large number of protest resignations startled leaders of this powerful organization, which claims 40 million members. Although the group lost some members over the health care debate, it reports gaining 400,000 new members over the same period.
“The last thing I want is for members to feel we’re not representing them,” said Lori Parham, AARP’s Florida director.