Via the WSJ
Some Republican lawmakers and the insurance lobby are crying foul over Medicare’s investigation of Humana Inc.’s effort
to enlist beneficiaries to fight proposed cuts to Medicare Advantage.
“It looks likes CMS is engaged in government intimidation, pure and simple,” said Rep. Dave Camp of Michigan, the top Republican on the House Ways and Means Committee. He wrote to CMS (the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services)today, requesting it to “immediately suspend the virtual gag order.”
House Minority Leader John Boehner of Ohio also said CMS imposed a “gag order.” “It is outrageous that the Obama Administration is trying to keep seniors in the dark about the consequences of congressional Democrats’ costly government-run health care bills,” Boehner said in a statement. “Would the Administration impose this sort of gag order if seniors were being given information promoting the Obama health care plan?” Medicare Advantage plans, the private insurance plans offered under Medicare, the government program for the elderly and disabled, are targets for cuts in heath care overhaul legislation because they cost more, per beneficiary, than traditional Medicare.
On Friday, CMS said it was examining whether Humana violated Medicare marketing rules or other federal laws, and asked the company to shut down a Website that helped beneficiaries generate letters to lawmakers opposing the cuts, and to stop sending letters to beneficiaries enlisting their support in the fight.
The agency sent a letter on Monday to all plans, warning them not to send letters about the proposed cuts and called the effort misleading to beneficiaries.
The action came at the urging of Democratic Sen. Max Baucus of Montana, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, who has proposed Medicare Advantage cuts that are estimated at $123 billion over 10 years as part of his health overhaul legislation.
A spokesman said Humana has complied with CMS’s requests and is cooperating with the investigation, but it still believes beneficiaries “deserve to know the impact” of the proposed funding cuts. A spokesman for America’s Health Insurance Plans, the industry trade group, also said “seniors have a right to know.”
Hows hope and change going for you? What happened to our first amendment rights? What now, shutting down speech of anyone who opposes Obama or any of his policies? I guess the whole country is part of the MOB!