AARP: Must Attract Baby Boomers to Retain Political Power
The AARP's congressional influence on issues such as Medicare and a prescription drug benefit may begin to wane if the organization cannot entice baby boomers to become members. The association -- formed to promote the interest of older people and retirees -- currently is the "most muscular" political group in the nation, with 34 million members. But its future power will depend largely on its ability to woo and keep the 45 million Americans who will turn 50 within the next 15 years. The Los Angles Times reports that while "boomers are coming to an age that once marked the beginning of the march to a leisurely retirement ... retirement is not an immediate priority to [this] generation." In recognition of baby boomers' differences from previous generations, AARP's new campaign targets them with new promotions, such as discounts on AOL, financial software, magazines and a new hotline that offers members expert advice in finding a nursing home for a parent. Also, the organization has taken up political issues that most concern the baby boomer set. This summer, AARP will send members out to congressional districts to pressure lawmakers for a Medicare prescription drug benefit -- an initiative that, according to AARP polls, garners the strongest support from people in their 50s who are "already worrying about the high cost of care as they come closer to retirement." AARP hopes to further raise its profile among baby boomers by opening an office with a full-time staff and lobbyist in every state (Rosenblatt, 5/16).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.