The AARP Seeks A More Neutral Image

AARP, the seniors' lobby that has shed as many as 60,000 members in two months over "its support of efforts to revamp the health care system," will launch a campaign next week to regain ground with seniors and reestablish its advocacy role, USA Today reports. "We are fighting for a solution that improves health care for our members," the group's leaders said in a message to members, noting that they had not endorsed a bill (Hall, 9/2).

And not just AARP is trying to court its own members, Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., the chairman of Senate Finance Committee, tried to reassure AARP members during a tele-town hall Tuesday, the Associated Press reports. He said that under the plan he is working on, "Medicare costs won't go up. In fact, they will go down. If we do nothing, the Medicare costs will continue to go up. That will hurt you…," He also said he remained hopeful that a compromise could be reached, though Republicans on the panel have distanced themselves over concerns about costs (Gouras, 9/1).

And there are others trying to woo this age group. "Michael Steele, the Republican National Committee chairman, stars front and center of the RNC's latest TV ad -- a direct play for seniors in this health-care fight," MSNBC reports. The ad promises Republicans will fight against Medicare cuts, age-based rationing of health services and any government role in end-of-life care (Montanaro, 9/1).

Despite the departing members and attempts to draw seniors, at least in Iowa, "new survey by the [AARP] shows most of its 400,000 members aren't ready to give up on health care reform," Radio Iowa reports (Danielson, 9/1).

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