Senate Democrats are being accused of placing a "gag order" on private insurance companies who are speaking out against the president's healthcare plan. The hoopla began when Louisville based company Humana sent a letter to its Medicare Advantage beneficiaries warning that if Congress cuts funding, millions of seniors and disabled people could lose many important benefits.
In response, Montana Senator Max Baucus who chairs the Senate Finance Committee denounced the letter as false and a blatant scare tactic. Other insurance companies have been warned by the government not to follow in Humana's footsteps.
My questions is, "How can the government issue a warning when this company was exercising its right to free speech in the marketplace?" Attornies who have reviewed the letter said that nothing in it is blatantly false, even though Humana obviously has a huge interest in stopping a public option for healthcare. Perhaps even more importantly, when trying to determine if illegal lobbying practices were used, wouldn't it have made more sense for Senator Baucus to engage in a private discussion/investigation with Humana so he could address his concerns? Now there's a political war over where the rights of free speech end, which ultimately makes the American public more suspicious of everyone involved. Now, there are no winners in the war.
Partisan politics have hit an all time low in this country, with both sides of the aisle refusing to comprimise on any issue. The anger and bitterness that has permeated Washington has never been worse,and conspiracy theorists have never been given this much fodder from which to build their false assumptions. This is just the latest battle in a time when political gridlock is the norm, and open, honest discussions on policy have been forgotten. Our lawmakers need to wake up and recognize that we have serious problems in the country, and we've given them our vote so they can represent our interests to the best of their ability.
The issue with the Humana letter isn't just about what they said or their right to say it. It's about having an open dialogue on an issue that will affect us all. Scare tactics? Gag orders? They're irrelevant. Lives are being affected by these decisions so it's time that our so-called leaders grow up and learn how to play nice.