AARP President Bill Novelli is a company man.
No, the company is not AARP.
Novelli doesn't give a damn about AARP or its 38 million members.
If he did, he wouldn't be selling down them down river by opposing a single payer system that would benefit not just AARP members, but everyone in the country.
Novelli doesn't give a damn about the health of the nation.
What he cares about are the health insurance companies.
Novelli - a founder of the giant Porter Novelli corporate public relations firm - jumped to AARP in 2000.
But he never shed his corporate skin.
Case in point?
On Thursday night, AARP will host a debate in Iowa on the issue of health care.
Republicans and Democrats running for President will attend.
Of all of the Democrats and Republicans in the race, guess who is the only one who would put the Novelli's buddies in the health insurance industry out of business?
Guess who is the only candidate among the Democrats and Republicans who would create a Canadian-style single payer, everybody in, nobody out, no deductibles, no co-pays, no in-network, no out-of-network, streamlined system that would save billions of dollars in administrative costs, deliver a higher quality health care system, and cover everyone?
And guess who was not invited to confront Novelli's corporate brotherhood of profit and death?
You guessed it.
Congressman Dennis Kucinich.
Well, Kucinich would put out of business Novelli's corporate support system - including United Healthcare and Aetna.
Earlier this year, both these health care industry giants signed a contract with AARP that will net AARP a cool $4.4 billion over seven years.
Kucinich said that AARP sponsorship of the Presidential forum "is like having Haliburton or Blackwater sponsor a Presidential forum on doing away with no-bid government contracts to private contractors - or an oil company sponsoring a forum on reducing the world's dependence on oil."
"Millions of trusting AARP members have bought Medicare-supplemental and prescription drug insurance plans from AARP, believing that they were getting a good deal," Kucinich said. "It turns out, however, that AARP is taking a $4 billion cut by steering its members to profiteering private insurance companies trying to capitalize on fear and confusion."
"The fact that Senators Clinton, Obama, and former Senator Edwards are pushing plans to keep the for-profit private insurers in business and in control may explain why they are willing to participate in this fake and tainted debate," Kucinich said.
Kucinich also questioned the decision by Iowa Public Television to televise the Presidential forum and simulcast it to other PBS stations in other states.
"Profit-driven and politics-driven media conglomerates are controlling what we see on TV and what we hear on the radio. Public broadcasting should represent a higher, more ethical standard. In this case, public broadcasting will shamefully promote private interests."
We're all getting old.
But we don't have to all join AARP.
If your not a member yet, don't join.
If you are a member, call Novelli and tell him to take a hike.
Then sign on with any Presidential candidate who supports single payer.
Russell Mokhiber is editor of the Washington, D.C.-based Corporate Crime Reporter.