11:41 PM, Sep 29, 2012
Written by Nathan Vine
STEVENS POINT— Jim Martin said he is on a recruiting trip, looking for people who are fed up with the AARP and believe their interests aren’t being represented by the group.
Martin is the chairman of the 60 Plus Association, a senior advocacy organization that he founded in 1992. The organization made a stop Saturday evening in Stevens Point as part of a three-day bus tour of the state and a larger tour of states including Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois and Minnesota.
More than 60 people showed up in the parking lot of the Holiday Inn to hear speakers such as Martin, who said he started the organization as an alternative to the AARP. He said 60 Plus is more of a conservative organization, with principles based on the U.S. Constitution.
“We are about limited government, less taxes and free enterprise,” he said.
AARP has long been concerned more about profit than about issues important to seniors, Martin said, adding that during the debate over the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, commonly called Obamacare, the AARP worked to pass the bill even though its own membership was largely against the measure.
“They abdicated their position for the almighty dollar. How they can continue to get away with that is beyond me,” Martin said.
Along with health care, Martin said his organization also looks to inform seniors on issues including spending, Social Security, energy and the estate tax, which is a tax on the transfer of someone’s property after their death. The measure also is known as the “Death Tax,” a phrase that Martin coined, and he said he would continue to work to repeal it.
Another of the featured speakers Saturday was Shannon Holmes, who spoke of her experience with socialized medicine. A resident of Toronto, Holmes said she was told after learning she had a brain tumor she would have to wait 19 weeks to have an MRI and months to see specialists in two different cities. Opting to go to the United States instead, she received treatment and eventually surgery that saved her life.
“I was lucky enough to be able to come to this country and be able to get the health care that I needed,” Holmes said. “I think everyone in this country should appreciate that they have the ability to do that.”
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