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Thursday, 20 October 2011

AARP's Misguided Medicare Advocacy

AARP has produced a strong television advertisement threatening any legislator who considers cuts to Medicare.

The ad shows an army of folks around my age marching and looking tough, while the narrator/leader intones:
"Washington, before you even think about cutting my Medicare's a number you should remember - 50 million. We are 50 million seniors who earned our benefits, and you will be hearing from us, today, and on election day."
Here's what an ethically guided ad would say:
"Washington, before you even think about cutting Medicare benefits, think about fairness. We 50 million seniors want to do our part to ensure a healthy future for America. But we want to be part of a team, and that means everyone sharing the burden, including adding new revenues..."
I'm insured through my employer, but I'm Medicare eligible. When I'm insured through Medicare, please tell me to wash my mouth out with soap if I call it "my Medicare." It's not just "mine," it's "ours." My payments into the Medicare fund from 1965 on paid for the care of my elders, including my parents. When I'm a beneficiary, my care will be paid for by the younger generation. Medicare is a matter of communal responsibility, not the private property of the 65+ generation.

Age is supposed to be a source of wisdom. Calling for teamwork and shared sacrifice is what my generation should be advocating for. The AARP advertisement invites definition of the elderly as "greedy geezers." AARP is making itself part of problem, not the solution.

(For the Concord Coalition critique of the AARP advertisement, see here.)


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