The first casualty of war is truth. The first casualty of health care reform? Free speech.
While most health care insurers have gone along with reform proposals, even helping write the bills, a few insurance companies fall outside the insiders’ perimeter, fearful of more regulation. The regulatory environment is already oppressive, after all — though, for the insurance industry these regs come mainly from the states.
So, we now learn, at least one medical insurance provider, Humana, sent out a special letter to policyholders who also participate in the Medicare Advantage program, advising them of what the effects of new reforms on their coverage would likely be.
What happened next?
If you guessed “gag order,” you got it.
After Humana’s expression of First Amendment rights, the Department of Health and Human Services told all insurers participating in Medicare Advantage to zip it, stifle themselves, express their thoughts in no way about any proposed reform to their policyholders — even if all such expression amounts to is a list of facts.
Penalties include both fines and jail time.
Yes, folks, this is what unlimited government means. Increase government’s role and “hasta la vista” to some very basic freedoms.
Just as government micromanagement of markets leads to shortages and rising prices, so increased government has predictable consequences. We pay for big government in lost freedom as well as dollars.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.