Category Archives: conflict of interest

Is AARP Our Friend?

I love the “idea” of AARP as a lobby group that fights for seniors. We easily could get lost in our youth-oriented America. We have all experienced the “invisibility factor” whereby people “walk right by us, stare right through us’” and force us to be the one who steps out of the way.

But I find I cannot totally trust AARP. From what I can tell they are basically an insurance group. They back and profit from all kinds of senior insurance including homeowners, life and even health insurance. I have a hard time understanding how AARP can represent seniors fairly in the case of health care reform. I haven’t seen AARP do anything to blatantly discourage a public option, but I do not hang out in Washington. I notice we did not get a public option however.

I am not sure how AARP can counsel seniors about health care plans when they have a vested interest in the outcome. I certainly think they will sell a senior insurance whether they need it or not. In this scenario it is obviously up to seniors to be savvy buyers.

I don’t want to give up on AARP. I would like an independent panel to look AARP over and give us some idea of how much we can trust them or how much these “conflicts of interest” may affect the outcomes seniors think they are getting. I wrote to AARP and I did get an answer from the new President, but it did not reassure me in any way.