Friday, April 1, 2011

Unconscionable attacks on AARP: the New Republicans’ Antics over the Patient’s Protection and Affordable Care Act?

Keywords and Terms: American Association of Retired Persons (AARP); Republicans; Conflict; House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Health; PPACA; Wally Herger (R-California); Charles Boustany (R- Louisiana) and Dave Reichert (R-Washington)

Members of the social welfare organization AARP with offices in every state of the union, the District of Columbia and United States territories were under attack from the Republicans on Capitol Hill, for their support and leg walk in support of the passing of Patient’s Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010. Considering the mission and advocacy of the non-profit organization, including enhancing the quality of life of people over the age of fifty, no one must be surprised by the unapologetic stance of leaders of the organization, when confronted with aggressive questioning and innuendos of Republican lawmakers on the hill. Unlike the National Public Radio executives who seemed to catty up to the threat from the Republican lawmakers, AARP, an organization which touts itself as working to help people fulfill their goals and dreams, will balk the aggression and unconscionable questioning of the audacity of their organization to support the passing of the health care reform law.

The state of the constant criticism and aggression from Republican lawmakers against anybody or organization that supported the passing of the health care reform law, seem to be unrelenting. The various tactics and aggression employed by many Republican lawmakers against supporters of the Patient’s Protection Affordable Care Act, is now taking the form of a religion. Republican Lawmakers who once touted their credentials as member of a political party in favor of national defense, free enterprise, limited government, individual rights and low taxes, have not only lost its bearing as it has not been able to reach accord with other lawmakers in Congress, but has added to its ineptitude, the desire to castigate anyone or organization that stood up for themselves regarding a reformed health care system. The drumbeat from republican lawmakers now is: brawl, name calling, unconscionable verbal attacks and unnecessary assault against our senior citizens and their organization.

Imagine what lawmaker Wally Herger (R-California) asked: “we couldn’t understand why AARP would support a health care reform bill that would threaten access to doctors (and) hospitals and could force seniors out of the plan they know and like.” Is this assessment true? Is Representative Herger’s emotion not playing a huge role in this heightened assessment of a law whose major provisions are yet to be phase in? Doesn’t this quote look more of a subjective submission or assessment of the Patient’s Protection and Affordable Care Act?

As if to justify their preference, the three Republican members of the House Ways and Means Health Subcommittee releasing the report, Wally Herger (R-California); Charles Boustany (R- Louisiana) and Dave Reichert (R-Washington), intoned that AARP stands to gain one billion dollars from the health care reform law. This assessment is based on purported royalties that the organization is expected to gain from its membership’s dues and expected switching of seniors from Medicare Advantage program to auxiliary coverage and Medigap policies. With this kind of subjective submission, do Republican lawmakers really want the public to believe them? How is it possible to anticipate that a huge number of seniors will actually leave the Medicare Advantage for other auxiliary policies just to benefit AARP? Can anyone out there remind Republicans that during the debate over the passing of Patient’s Protection and Affordable Care Act, seniors were encouraged to stay with their current plan or policy if it is meeting or serving their needs? This projected assessment by Republican lawmakers reminds me of the old saying: If you want to kill a dog, give it a bad name!

Traditional Republicans principles of talking about religion and sex are no longer working so, the party stalwarts are launching unto another gimmick: damaging of the health care reform law! Could Republicans anticipate winning elections when issues of paramount concern to the voters, job creation, is being sidetracked or neglected for other whimsical principle? How can a party that is so much entrenched in running down scientific biological research efforts into causes of Alzheimer’s, Cancer and Lug Gerick disease, stand up to criticize AARP’s support for heath care reform. The AARP support for the Patient’s Protection and Affordable Care Act is very heroic and is reasonably predictable based on the experience of members of that organization. More Americans in the ages of fifty and over suffer from many deadly and probably costly diseases, many of which, without some support, would set them back thousand of dollars and in some cases, bankrupt. In fact, statistics from Department of Health and Human Services indicate that a huge number of retired Americans on fixed income, many members of the AARP, spent a huge ratio of their savings on health care services and maintenance. How then could Republicans expect members of AARP to kick against a law that will give them some reprieve from bankruptcy and an inefficient system?

The only way Republicans can begin to make a difference is by showing more passion for people’s health and welfare, especially members of the AARP, a gazillion number of whom are known to cast votes during elections. Republicans must begin to show interest in issues that affect those people who can actually make or break them. The new direction of calling into question the credibility of an organization whose members go to vote more than any voting group, doesn’t seem like a wise idea. Castigating AARP Chief Executive Officer Barry Rand and AARP President Lee Hammond may make a good sound bite or media blitz; but, may also boomerang against the Republican party come election time.

Further, those Republicans who believe that they can undermine the Patient’s Protection and Affordable Care Act by going after members of the AARP, are definitely misinformed. There are more good in that law that is ever envisaged by many Republican lawmakers who have hardly given it a thought, to let the law play out and see what the public impression about the totality of the law is all about; especially from the elderly voters among us. For all that’s worth, Republicans must acknowledge that the Health Care Reform Law is here to stay; and, work in collaboration with the opposing party to straighten out any of their misgivings in the law. Going after the retired people’s organization, their leaders or professional academics with sterling qualities, will take the party, nowhere.

Lastly, the current philosophy or Republican Party’s choice of damaging the Patient’s Protection and Affordable Care Act, and or any of its supporters, is probably not the better way to show leadership on health care issues in congress. Republicans must now keep an open mind, apply critical thinking on what is contained in the law and make decisions unlike one for an April fool’s day, in addressing the changes that may be necessary in advancing the objective of the party and hopefully, our seniors. Today’s federal budget deficit comes not only from our expenditures on health care delivery, but also, the mismanagement of the delivery system, a challenge that the PPACA is attempting to address. For now, the Patient’s Protection and Affordable Care Act, has sought to straiten out some kinks in the past health care delivery system. While the law may not be as perfect as everyone wants, it is still a huge first step in helping solve most of the complaints levied against American Health Delivery system; even by seniors. In order to test the impact of this law, Republicans have to weigh the pros and cons of the law; and for now, it seems the benefits outweigh the disadvantages, and that is why it is not worth the effort, bad mouthing our seniors and their organization.

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