Wednesday, September 23, 2009

ABC News On McConnell Condemning Dem's Gag Order of Humana

ABC World News Tonight has a segment on McConnell's statement on the Senate floor, in which he called out Sen. Max Baucus and the Obama administration for placing a gag order on Humana.
It is rare to see McConnell so angry, and he has good right. As ABC notes, by silencing Humana from communicating with its subscribers about pending legislation, the Democrats have likely violated the first amendment.

ABC also points out that the substance of the Humana mailing at issue is true: current members of Medicare Advantage would see their benefits cut under the Baucus bill; that's one of the ways in which Democrats will attempt to pay for Obamacare.

Though ABC did not air it, in yesterday's hearing before the Senate Finance Committee, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office confirmed that approximately half of all benefits under Medicare Advantage would be cut:

Sen. Mike Crapo (R-WY): “So, Approximately Half Of The Additional Benefit Would Be Lost To Those Current Medicare Advantage Policy Holders?” CBO Director Douglas Elmendorf: “For Those Who Would Be Enrolled Otherwise Under Current Law, Yes.”

Humana had the right -- and arguably the duty -- to inform its customers of how this proposed legislation will affect them. However, as the object of a heavily regulated industry, it is difficult for Humana to protect its free speech rights. If the ACLU really believes in free speech for everyone, it should bring suit on behalf of Humana's subscribers. And if the ACLU is too afraid to stand up to its liberal special interests, then a conservative public interest group needs to step up.

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