Kathleen Sebelius’ home state of Kansas has become the front line in the battle over Obamacare, with conservatives fighting to preserve Medicare and local control over health care policy while Democrats try to end both.
The Kansas legislature adopted the Health Care Compact, a measure that would give Kansas control over healthcare decision-making and the ability to opt-out of Obamacare. Kathleen Sebelius’ cronies in AARP and the state insurance commission immediately launched a disinformation campaign to spook Governor Brownback into vetoing the bill, claiming the compact would destroy Medicare.
The truth is passage of Obamacare ended Medicare as we know it because it cuts $716 billion from Medicare and establishes a new, unelected panel, the IPAB (Independent Payment Advisory Board), with the power to cut Medicare spending and services.
The Health Care Compact (HCC) provides a regulatory shield so states may opt-out of Obamacare, protect seniors, and ensure the states are no longer passive observers of Washington’s Medicare decisions. States are in control.
You’ll never hear that from the AARP, which likes to portray itself as the defenders of Medicare. Instead of telling the seniors the truth about the Health Care Compact, it is attacking it with more straw men than ever appeared in all the wheat fields of Kansas.
Why? The answer is simple: follow the money. AARP stands to make billions in insurance royalties as seniors buy more so-called Medigap supplemental insurance policies to make up for Obamacare cutbacks to traditional Medicare plans.
To quote from a House Ways and Means Committee report:
UnitedHealth Group (“United”) is AARP’s largest business partner. As part of the United and AARP business agreement all three of the Medicare insurance product lines are marketed under the AARP brand name. From 2007 to 2009, United’s royalty payments to AARP have grown from $284 million in 2007 to $427 million in 2009, a 50% increase.
State insurance rate filings show that, in 2010, AARP retained 4.95% of seniors’ premiums for every Medigap policy sold under its name. Therefore, the more seniors enroll in the AARP branded Medigap plan, the more money AARP receives from United.
Having carefully cultivated its image as their friendly consumer advocate, it’s probably too much to expect the AARP to tell seniors that, like Fred MacMurray in Double Indemnity, it’s actually an insurance salesman who doesn’t have their best interest at heart.
But that doesn’t excuse Kansas Insurance Commissioner Sandy Praeger. She’s been acting as the AARP’s shill, calling on Governor Brownback to veto the Health Care Compact.
Praeger won’t tell seniors that AARP is one of the biggest insurance peddlers in the nation and stands to make billions from Obamacare’s cuts to Medicare.
Praeger’s not running for re-election. Considering the audition quality performance she’s giving the ringmasters at AARP, you have to wonder if they have a well-padded seat waiting for her after she leaves office.
That’s something else Praeger refuses to tell the good people of Kansas.