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dgraz On January - 26 - 2010

Here is an interesting letter I received from AARP this morning:

If you and I don’t act now – the future of Social Security and Medicare could be decided for us without a public debate.

As soon as today your senators will decide whether to give a special commission the power to propose drastic cuts to the programs that millions of seniors depend on: Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security.

The proposals could be voted on immediately, without full transparency and accountability – and without our voices being heard. We can’t let that happen.

Make no mistake – AARP and most Americans are deeply concerned about increasing debt, health care costs and the long-term solvency of Social Security.

But as some of the most fundamental challenges we face as a nation, surely these issues deserve full and open debate by all members of Congress.

You elected your members of Congress to make the tough decisions, not to punt them to a special “commission.”

Tell your senators to vote “NO” on the Conrad-Gregg amendment.

Thank you for your help on this urgent matter.

Sincerely,

Barry Jackson
Senior Manager, Grassroots

Here is another link

The U.S. Senate is scheduled to vote next week on an amendment offered by Senators Conrad and Gregg to create a “fiscal task force” that would make it easier to make cuts to Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.

Under the Conrad-Gregg amendment, major decisions on long-term changes to programs including Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid would be turned over to a task force that would focus, behind closed doors, solely on debt reduction.  Their recommendations would then be fast-tracked through Congress with a simple up or down vote, leaving no room for debate, constituent input or amendments.

Talking Points

  • Forcing changes to Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid by fast-tracking changes and eliminating room for debate or amendments is an undemocratic way to address the future of such programs.
  • Vote against the Conrad-Gregg Amendment!</blockquote>

http://www.unionvoice.org/campaign/conrad_gregg

43 Responses so far.

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  1. AdLib says:

    As folks have been discussing whether or not AARP profits from selling insurance:

    A review of its financial statements finds that in 2008, AARP received $652.7 million in direct

    • javaz says:

      Yes, they profit from selling insurance, just as they profit from airline flights, cruises, vacation getaways, but they do not own an insurance company, or airline, or cruise ships, or hotels, etc.

      They bargain on behalf of their members for deals, and they profit from referrals.

      I guess, we agree!

      • Tiger99 says:

        I viewed getting my AARP card as a right of passage… Now my better half who is several years younger than me didn’t seem to appreciate her “spouse” card… Go figure…

        • javaz says:

          Me, too!
          I’m 6 years younger than my husband, and age has never been an issue with me, so when I hit 50, I joined.

          I actually welcome growing older, as I have an excuse now for being the way I am -- you know, eccentric and forgetful and just a tad on the crazy side!
          (left-leaning crazy!)
          😆

        • ArtMan says:

          Once a company starts feeding from the trough it’s pretty hard to say, oh no, I have had enough. They along with many could not resist the smell of sweet success. I dont blame them but they aren’t just in it for the love of us seniors.

        • bitohistory says:

          now that we settled AARP, how much money does the NRA make on their Life Insurance? and other licensing? 😉

          (aside: why does AARP come up in spell check and NRA doesn’t ❓

          • javaz says:

            OT -- (but then I have an “in” with the author :lol:)
            Are you a member of AARP?
            I love their magazine, bulletins and emails.
            But the magazine is excellent!

            • bitohistory says:

              No, I’m only 39! I read their stuff everymonth, I like the bulletins the best.

  2. bitohistory says:

    I read a really good article on many reasons this idea is a terrible idea. Now where is it? :-D.

    This from this morning. Why is this such a big topic now? Because we have a Dem in the White House? Where was everyone when the deficit and debt were ballooning under the previous Administration? Where were they when the wars were “off budget”? (Oh, Yeah, everyone got a good chuckle when Sen. Kerry said “I voted for it, before I voted against it.” Does anyone know what bill/amendment he was talking about?)

    This, today from The Center For American Progress, on “deficit peacocks.” They don’t really care, or do anything about debts or deficits. The just want to grandstand for political reasons.

    There are two sides to every balance sheet, and the federal budget is no exception. Deficits occur when spending is too high, but they also happen when revenue levels are too low. The budget deficit in FY 2009 was a whopping 9.9 percent of GDP, the highest it has been since World War II. And that enormous deficit was caused as much by a dramatic decline in tax revenues as it was by an increase in spending. In fact, the size of the revenue decline was four times larger than all of the new spending initiatives started since President Obama took office. Tax revenues in 2009 were at their lowest levels since 1950. When revenues decline by 17 percent, as they did last year, deficits skyrocket.

    Anything to do with the Bush tax cuts and the non-regulation of off-shoring?

    http://www.americanprogress.org/issues/2010/01/deficit_peacock.html

  3. javaz says:

    Thank heaven it failed.
    Transparency was a promise, and placing social programs such as Social Security and Medicare discussions behind closed doors and led by one of the most partisan Republicans was a very bad idea.
    Who in the world would be against public debate in Congress over such important issues?

    While Gregg claimed that his commission showed his sincerity about

    • KQuark says:

      C’mon if this was something progressives wanted they would not care about transparency.

      • javaz says:

        Why do you think AARP is not progressive?
        Imho, HCR wouldn’t have gotten as far as it did without the support of AARP.
        AARP has worked and still continues to actively work for comprehensive HCR.

        • KQuark says:

          I never said AARP was against HCR.

          I’m saying they are just another special interest group. Most special interest groups care only about their issues and don’t care about the future of the country.

          • javaz says:

            AARP is a special interest group for one of the largest segments of our society, which is growing because of the babyboomers.

            I’m very happy that AARP is on my side, fighting to make sure that my husband and I will be able to collect the benefits that we’ve paid into programs our entire working lives.

            I’m very happy to have AARP fighting for affordable health insurance and prescription drug benefits.

            http://www.aarp.org/states/nv/advocacy/articles/health_care_reform_is_top_priority_at_aarp.html

            • KQuark says:

              Correct on all counts. AARP is better than most special interest groups save for one consideration. Because they are seniors they don’t care how spending affects the long term financial implications for the country. I’m not saying they should care I’m just saying they will fight anything that negatively affects them even if it’s good for the country long term.

            • ArtMan says:

              KQ,

              Are you talking about AARP or senior citizens not caring about long term ramifications. The people who run AARP are not necessarily seniors. And as a senior, my experience of the seniors that I know, does not indicate they are just looking out for themselves.

        • ArtMan says:

          Yes, but isn’t AARP also an insurance company. They must have some assets to protect, so I think they try to ride the middle carefully.

          • bitohistory says:

            They have to ride the fence because of their Tax Classification and their membership.

          • KQuark says:

            I think AARP is not really right or left. They advocate for causes that benefit seniors. There were behind Medicare part B because while it used private coverage it cost seniors less for prescriptions. They don’t care that it was never paid for and will help bankrupt the country.

            • nellie says:

              I think you mean Part D, KQuark.

              And that was one stink bomb of a piece of legislation.

              It’s hard to tell w AARP. Sometimes I agree w them, sometimes no.

            • nellie says:

              Hmmm.

              Are you sure there wasn’t a medicare co-pay? — When I was taking care of my mom, we got a discount all the time, and we were told it was because of Medicare. And this was before D was passed.

            • KQuark says:

              Regular Medicare did not have prescription coverage.

            • nellie says:

              I’m not sure it’s less. The donut hole puts seniors in a really bad place until they pay — I think it’s $10,000, I’m not sure about the figure — and I believe it’s more than they would pay with regular Medicare. It’s also a lot more than they would pay if we could negotiated prices. It was another windfall for the Phrma. I’ve not heard that it blew up the budget in any way — except that prices are not negotiated.

            • KQuark says:

              Yeah it is D. But how is it a bomb for seniors?

              They pay less for meds then they did before. It was a bomb for the budget but the AARP got what they wanted. The only problem for them is the doughnut hole.

              Medicare advantage is different because Medicare already provided that coverage.

          • javaz says:

            We’ve been AARP members for years, even though we’re only 39 -- 😉

            AARP isn’t an insurance company, but an advocacy group that has bargained with insurance companies for affordable rates for their members.

            http://www.aarp.org/health/insurance/

            They do not own the insurance companies, but have worked with them to help 50+ and senior citizens with coverage.

            https://www.aarphealthcare.com/products/medsup/screen.aspx?ReturnUrl=/products/medsup/requestinformation.aspx

    • KQuark says:

      I’m so sick of the left right partisanship in this country gridlocking the system. The right has made tax increases impossible and the left has made spending cuts equally impossible creating an unsustainable system of government.

      • nellie says:

        I really hear you, K.

        I can’t even find a text of the amendment so I can judge for myself.

        There’s so much opinion out there, but very little REPORTING.

        I would have liked to have read the text.

        • KQuark says:

          I don’t know the specifics but we are going to need to pull more things that are political difficult away from the process because the system is so broken. I’m looking at every issue differently now since again our government has failed us thanks to the right left divide.

  4. nellie says:

    I hate to be knee-jerk about this, but anything the Heritage Foundation opposes is probably a good idea. I’m looking for the text of the amendment….

  5. KQuark says:

    I disagree tough choices need to be made on SS and Medicare and our current legislative process is broken. Look at HCR. NoW I’m in favor of raising payroll taxes especially the low ceiling on wages but again nobody wants to raise taxes in this political environment. So the only thing left to do the painful things necessary are presidential or congressional commissions. Blame the American people for never wanting to face reality or SS and Medicare will bankrupt the nation when baby boomers retire.

    • dgraz says:

      Well I didn’t vote for a commission to make the decisions on these items and I don’t think other Americans did either. It needs to be done by all members of Congress with open debate so all can see what is being done.

      • KQuark says:

        Right they want open debate so AARP can pay off congress and politicize the issues so nothing gets done. Congress will have their say when they consider the bill anyway.

        It will probably take a special commission to pass HCR since the sausage grinder is broken.


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