A Message from A. Barry Rand, AARP CEO

For over fifty years, AARP’s mission has been educating and engaging in the issues most important to you, our members. With over 40 million members we understand the importance of debate. Even when some members don’t agree with our advocacy positions, it is critical that we make sure those differences of opinion are based on facts, not myths designed to derail a long overdue effort to fix what’s wrong in our health care system.
Doing nothing is not an option. But any reform must not get between a patient and their doctor. It must not cut Medicare benefits. It must not allow insurers to continue to line their pockets by covering only the healthiest and the youngest.
AARP is committed to making sure health care reform will do the following for our members:
Lower Drug Costs and Strengthen Medicare: Close the Medicare Part D “doughnut hole,” ensure patients’ access to their doctors, and crack down on fraud and wasteful spending;
Protect Your Health Care Choices: Make sure you can choose your doctor, your health insurance plan and where to receive care;
End Discrimination by Insurance Companies: Prevent insurance companies from denying you coverage because of a pre-existing condition or using age to price Americans age 50-64 out of affordable, quality health insurance; and
Guarantee Stable, Affordable Coverage: Ensure you have the security of knowing that if you lose or change jobs, you will be able to get affordable, quality health insurance.
Since July 1st, when we started seeing a rise in phone calls and emails here at AARP as a result of the health care debate, we have lost approximately 50,000-60,000 members. While we are encouraged that almost 1.8 million people have either joined AARP or renewed their memberships over that same time span, we take the loss of any member seriously. “ªWe don’t want to see you, our members, leave for any reason, and understand that even when we all have the facts reasonable people may agree to disagree on the proposals being put forth by Congress.
AARP’s strength has always been our members, and we’re working hard to represent them as best we can. Each of our policy positions have been carefully considered and are set by our all-member volunteer board of directors based on input from our members.
We’re also working to dispel several of the myths and lies that have warped the health care reform debate, targeting older Americans in particular with horror stories about euthanasia and rationed care. We believe that, at a time when a lot of the information about health reform surfacing on the Internet, cable news and talk radio simply isn’t true, it’s important that each of our members are armed with all the facts about this very important debate.
As we continue to fight on your behalf and work to fix our health care system, we are bound to have different opinions among our members. We respect each opinion and choice you make, and will do our best to represent the individuals who have, with their membership, shown that the collective voice of 40 million members working together have the power to make our health care system better – for themselves and for generations to come.
A. Barry Rand