Huffpost Politics

AARP Struggles To Win Over Membership On Health Reform

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The Hill reports that health care reform has proven the most divisive issue tackled by influential lobbying group AARP.

Nancy LeaMond, who heads the AARPs social impact group, told reporters that despite vast resources, the organization has not been able to unite its membership on the contentious issue.

"We're preparing to make the best possible case we can with the facts to this constituency," said LeaMond. "People are playing for keeps after keeping their powder dry."

The AARP still doesn't think current health care reform legislation does enough to help seniors. For its own part, the AARP has to perform a balancing act between its younger and older members. LeaMond said younger AARP members not yet eligible for Medicare are "absolutely, maniacally obsessed with affordability," and "the most anxious group." Older members, meanwhile, are concerned about the stability of their Medicare benefits and have been bombarded with claims of death panels and rationed medical services.

The AARP has launched extensive advertising efforts on health care reform, yet with one-third of its members Republican, one-third Democrat, and one-third independent, the membership remains largely deadlocked, reports the Christian Science Monitor.

LeaMond told the Christian Science Monitor:

"I feel a little bit as though this is now roller derby - very fast, lots of people, lots of elbows. And people are playing for keeps," says Nancy LeaMond, executive vice president of AARP, a 40 million member political powerhouse.

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