AARP Loses 60,000 Members

Here is a case where perceptions cause myths to arise and then actions actually cause revenue to be lost!

As many as 60,000 seniors have canceled their AARP memberships since July 1 because they are angry about organization’s position on healthcare reform. Three bill versions would trim $563 billion out of Medicare’s growth rate over the next 10 years while pumping in about $320 billion.

That has translated into a belief that Medicare cuts will lead to long lines, restrictions on care, and other problems.

First, you need to know that there is so much waste in the healthcare system that trimming is needed. Second, if a standardized EMR protocol is developed, it will lead to further efficiencies in the system. I think Medicare is a sacred cow that legislators will be hard pressed to mess with too extensively.

All that said, AARP might better spend its time thinking about what it can do to solve problems and not play politics. The sad truth is that there is a shortage of primary care physicians in this country and haplessly few geriatric specialists.

There is a larger societal issue around aging, understanding aging, preparing for aging. When younger people think 60 is old—that is a problem. When younger people are drawn to specialty medicine because it pays more than primary care—that is a problem. Some of the basic framework of our primary care infrastructure needs to be addressed. Because for young people, perceptions of aging and caring for the aging translates into choices that continue to diminish the ranks of those dedicated to our elders.

Perhaps the American Seniors Association, a conservative alternative to AARP, should take the mantle if AARP chooses not to do so.

Anthony Cirillo, FACHE, ABC, is a marketing consultant, professional speaker, aging and senior health expert, and the owner of Fast Forward Consulting. Visit his personal blog at

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