Retiree Group Calls for Action on Retiree Hot Button Issues

September 5, 2002 ( - The 2.7 million-member Alliance for Retired Americans (ARA) has demanded action from lawmakers and congressional candidates on hot-button retiree items such as a Medicare prescription drug benefit.

BNA reported that alliance members in Washington for an ARA organizing conference planned to develop a political strategy for the 2002-midterm elections as well as to do direct Congressional lobbying.

The AFL-CIO formally launched the alliance in May 2001 as a retiree advocacy organization. Retired union members are enrolled by their unions and have their dues paid for, while non-union retirees can also join if they pay their own way.

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Medicare Drug Coverage

ARA President George Kourpias told the conference that candidates who are elected in November will make “critical decisions” in several areas important to retirees and active workers, including whether to privatize Social Security and add prescription drug coverage to Medicare, the BNA story reported.

Kourpias said the prescription drug plan discussed in the House of Representatives was a “hoax” and that candidates running for the House will campaign that they passed a bill on which the Senate failed to act.

Several speakers discussed the high cost of prescription drugs. ARA officials told the meeting that bus trips to Canada last year organized by the alliance to purchase less expensive medications saved members $526, 477 on their prescriptions.