Friday, October 16, 2009

Congressman Dave Reichert Takes AARP to Task on HR 3200, Medigap

I stopped declaring my love for Congressman Reichert when he had some sort of out-of-body experience or demonic possession during a Cap and Trade vote.

I know he's in a swing district, and I was biting my nails all through the wait for the ballot totals during his last race. Still, the Cap and Tax vote came out of left field for many of his supporters. Whether poorly informed on the issue or under pressure from libs in his district, his vote was not in the best interest of Washington State, home to the Columbia River and its many dams, which produce 100% renewable hydro-electric power.

Anyway, it appears the tenacity and brass bullocks he's known for are once again functional as he takes on AARP, and calls for them to explain their support of HR 3200.

In a letter dated September 21, 2009, Reichert states, "...I believe it does a disservice to the millions of seniors you represent to support massive cuts to their Medicare Advantage health plans without disclosing the potential monetary benefit to AARP of seniors' lost coverage resulting in the purchase of AARP-sponsored Medigap plans."

AARP's response, dated October 1st, does little to clarify its position, and fails to answer the Congressman's concerns that AARP may be throwing its members to the wolves while lining their own pockets. It does state that AARP, in reality, has no idea how many of its members may be under Medicare Advantage plans and that "AARP is not an insurance company."

Not content to be double-talked away, Reichert fired off another screed to AARP on October 15th in which he chastises, "(i)t concerns me that you are strongly advocating for cuts to a program when you have no idea the extent to which these cuts will harm your membership."

As for AARP's claim that they are "not an insurance company," Reichert begs to differ, and points out some figures that AARP Chief Operating Officer Thomas C. Nelson is either unaware of or prefers to ignore:

"... 38 percent of your annual total operating revenue came from United HealthCare. Comparatively, only 23 percent of your total operating revenue came from membership dues. AARP makes nearly twice as much from insurance premiums as it does from membership dues. All told, royalties represent 60 percent of AARP's operating revenue... If you are not an insurance company, as you claim, why are you collecting and holding premiums?" (Emphasis added.)

That's a very good question, Congressman.

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