October 14, 2009

Assault in the first degree Part 1

As much as the Second Amendment and the right to bear arms spawns passion amongst Americans, according to polls the most cherished of all liberties we enjoy is freedom of speech. Nothing will so insight the people of the United States as learning that someones has had this freedom trampled on.

This is what makes the current administration in Washington so frightening. Not only do they attempt and succeed in some cases to shove through programs and laws without normal discussion or debate they have shown a propensity to stifle opposition. As an example of this tactic let's look at just a couple of items from the current health care debate.

First remember it was the President himself who insisted that the Congress and Senate pass health care reform bills before they took their recess this past August. There is no "crisis" that demands this type of extraordinary haste, The only reason for this insistence's was to forestall the coming public debate everyone knew the "reform" would engender. It was a calculated attempt to shove through massive legislation on a very important national issue and to do so by stifling debate and free speech.

If it were just that you might just call it politics as usual, which I believe was a big deal back during the campaign, but not so important now evidently. If you don't think that attempt to stifle the debate was an attempt to ram through unpopular legislation, consider the graph below from Pollster.Com which is a compilation of all polling on the issue. .

Had those bills been rammed through without a public discussion the entire debate would now be over except for the negotiating in conference. The American public obvious concern if not outright outrage over the proposed bills would have been totally mooted by the fact that the bills would have already been passed and the pressure excerpted by WE THE PEOPLE would have been easily ignored. It would have been water under the bridge. They may still ram this through, but they can not now do it without the knowledge that a majority of Americans do not support it. But it is worse than just political maneuvering.

In September Humana sent out a flyer to it's customers explaining that certain aspects of the health care reform bills being debated in congress would drive up prices on Medicare Advantage Program which is a portion of their business. They had every right to do this the flyer was accurate and they are allowed to communicate with their customers, even if they are a profit making entity, something which our government seems to now consider a crime.

Senator Baucus (D-MT) took offense to a company criticizing his bill by telling the truth to their customers and promptly unleashed the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, on them. As the Wall Street Journal put it:

Mr. Baucus doesn't want seniors to be educated about these facts, and obviously he's willing to use his enormous power to punish any private company that doesn't affirm his, well, creative version of reality. Nearly half of Humana's yearly revenue comes from Medicare Advantage, and the insurer says that it is complying in full with the CMS investigation. Yesterday, the agency also barred all Advantage insurers from providing similar information to their beneficiaries.

This episode neatly shows how all U.S. health care will operate if Mr. Baucus's bill becomes law. For months Humana and the wider insurance lobby have been among ObamaCare's most prominent cheerleaders, with the exception of Advantage cuts and the public option—even though they'll be converted into government contractors in the business of fulfilling whatever Congress happens to dictate. The insurers are willing to give up their remaining business autonomy because Democrats intend to mandate that all consumers buy their products—but as with Advantage now, that means government will control the funds upon which the insurers' survival depends. They'll have no choice but to genuflect, or else the political class will pull out the tire irons.

Humana merely made the mistake of trying to tell seniors the truth about what will happen to their coverage, and now CEO Michael McCallister had better hire a good team of lawyers. Mr. Baucus and the Obama Administration are out to make him an object lesson to the rest of the business class, and that means they won't stop until Humana cries uncle or is ruined

Regardless of what you may think about this bill or the health care debate in general, this is not how the US Government is supposed to operate. They are not meant to be dictating to either an individual citizen their speech or a companies communications with their customers. The US Government is supposed to be a servant of WE THE PEOPLE not our rulers.

This week Price Waterhouse Cooper issued a report on the Baucus bill which was commissioned by the insurance industry. The report among other things showed that health insurance premiums could go up substantially if the bill is passed. What was the governments response to this challenge? From Politico:

The long-simmering tension between insurers and congressional Democrats is erupting into open warfare, with lawmakers stepping up their push to revoke a key federal protection for the insurance industry.

Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) on Wednesday called for an amendment to the health care reform bill that would remove the long-standing antitrust exemption for insurers, echoing a push by other Democrats to crack down on the industry..

This is government by intimidation and thuggery. This is also just the tip of the iceberg so to speak. It is worse than this and getting worse. I intend to do a series of post on this assault by our own government on the American people. I know that the insurance industry is not a very sympathetic entity, but they like every other institution and individual needs to be protected from an out of control government. If you don't think this can affect you read this.

It is time Americans took back their country from their government while we still can.

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