President Obama went too far when he said the seniors lobby had endorsed the legislation pending in Congress, the group's chief officer said Tuesday.
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
President Obama hosts a town hall on health care reform in New Hampshire, Aug. 11, 2009 (AP)
A group usually seen as one of Barack Obama's allies in the health care debate -- AARP -- says the president went too far Tuesday when he said the seniors lobby had endorsed the legislation pending in Congress.
AARP is sensitive to the issue because polls show that Medicare beneficiaries are worried their health care program will be cut to subsidize coverage for the uninsured.
At the town hall in Portsmouth, N.H., Obama said, "We have the AARP onboard because they know this is a good deal for our seniors." He added, "AARP would not be endorsing a bill if it was undermining Medicare."
But Tom Nelson, AARP's chief operating officer, said, "Indications that we have endorsed any of the major health care reform bills currently under consideration in Congress are inaccurate."
Like Obama, AARP wants action this year to cover the uninsured and restrain health care costs, but the organization has refrained from endorsing legislation. Nelson said AARP would not endorse a bill that reduces Medicare benefits.