The power of AARP to make a difference in health care reform lies in the voices of its members, and particularly those who volunteer their time to get involved and raise their concerns in their neighborhood and communities, as well as with their elected officials.
That was the message delivered by Havi Glaser—Senior Legislative Representative in Washington and one of AARP’s experts on health care reform—to 120 volunteers from around Texas at a volunteer appreciation meeting in Austin on December 10.
"We’ll never have the money to go head-to-head with the pharmaceutical and insurance industries," Glaser said during a mock tele-town hall meeting in which the 'callers' with questions were actually in attendance. “We rely so much on our volunteers... we rely so much on you to take this message out there."
Glaser said the bill passed by the House of Representatives "really included everything AARP was looking for" but said the Senate legislation still in progress appears "more tricky, and less generous" as far as its ability to address the many problems faced by the pre-Medicare and post-Medicare populations.
The issue is anything but new to AARP. AARP traces its roots to an effort by founder Ethel Percy Andrus to provide health care coverage to retired teachers and other Americans.
"When the organization was founded by Ethel Percy Andrus in 1958, it was founded to help its members achieve financial and health security, goals that guide the work of AARP today," said Lily Liu, AARP's historian.
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