Skip to comments.ABC Notices Obama Administration's Effort to Suppress Criticism of ObamaCare
Posted on 09/23/2009 3:19:24 AM PDT by chuck_the_tv_out
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell's decision to go to the Senate floor on Tuesday to call out the Obama administration for using the full power of a federal regulatory agency to suppress free speech -- specifically, to silence Humana's predictions about the impact of proposed ObamaCare cuts to the Medicare Advantage program -- led ABC, but not CBS or NBC, to air a story on the gag order.
ABC's story began with a McConnell soundbite ('Shut up,' the government says, 'don't communicate with your customers. Be quiet and get in line,'), before reporter Jonathan Karl explained McConnell was referring to the Department of Health and Human Services, telling insurance companies who serve Medicare recipients, to stop 'misleading' and 'confusing' mailings, saying, quote: 'We are instructing you to immediately discontinue all such mailings, and remove any related materials from your Web sites.'
Karl continued: The extraordinary order comes in response to a mailing the Humana insurance company sent to customers in the Medicare Advantage program. The Humana mailing warned that because of Medicare cuts in the health care reform bills, quote, 'millions of seniors and disabled individuals could lose many important benefits and services.'
On Monday, HHS offered guidance to silence criticism: MEDICARE ISSUES NEW GUIDANCE TO INSURANCE COMPANIES ON MEDICARE MAILINGS.
So far, the government's power play has succeeded. Humana backed down, stopping the mailing and announcing that it would cooperate with the investigation, James Taranto noted in his Monday Best of the Web, lamenting: Corporations may provide lots of useful goods and services, but never count on them to take a stand for freedom.
Now the question is, will the media champion free speech and be outraged by the abuse of power to suppress it, or will most journalists not mind the government hushing voices which go against Obama?
The story on the Tuesday, September 22 World News on ABC (transcript provided by the MRC's Brad Wilmouth):
| CHARLES GIBSON: In Washington, the Senate Finance Committee today began voting on amendments to the health care reform bill, and the bill that comes out of that committee will become the centerpiece for the health care debate. But even before the amendment process began, a war of words broke out over what one of the nation's largest health insurance companies is saying about the bill. Here's Jonathan Karl.
JONATHAN KARL: It's not often you hear language like this on the Senate floor.
MITCH MCCONNELL, SENATE MINORITY LEADER: "Shut up," the government says, "don't communicate with your customers. Be quiet and get in line."
KARL: He's talking about this order issued last night by the Department of Health and Human Services, telling insurance companies who serve Medicare recipients to stop "misleading" and "confusing" mailings, saying, quote, "We are instructing you to immediately discontinue all such mailings, and remove any related materials from your Web sites." The extraordinary order comes in response to a mailing the Humana insurance company sent to customers in the Medicare Advantage program.
The Humana mailing warned that because of Medicare cuts in the health care reform bills, quote, "millions of seniors and disabled individuals could lose many important benefits and services." But Senate Finance Chairman Max Baucus says it is misleading to say his bill cuts Medicare benefits and ordered the HHS to investigate, prompting the gag order. Some legal experts say the order is unconstitutional. Senator McConnell agrees.
MCCONNELL: We cannot allow government officials to target individuals or companies because they do not like what they say.
KARL: And even some Democratic Senators are concerned that the bill now before the Senate Finance Committee reduces spending on Medicare Advantage by $123 billion.
SENATOR BILL NELSON (D-FL): I think it would be intolerable to ask the senior citizens on Medicare who have it to give up substantial health benefits that they're enjoying under Medicare.
KARL: HHS declined a request for an on-camera interview, but told us that they are investigating whether the mailings illegally give the impression that they are official communications from Medicare. While that investigation goes forward, Charlie, the gag order remains in place.
Medicare is government run health care. The public is getting a sample of what a full blown public option could mean to their free speech and future health care.
“Shut up and get in line.” they forgot to add, “We’’ll call you when the Board determines if you’re eligible for that procedure”.
They are vindicating all critics of Obamacare, every last racist one of them...
They’ll find some way to cover Zero’s butt. “He didn’t know what his uppity subordinates were up to. Heads will roll!” Let’s see, It’s GWB’s fault. That’s a good one. We’ve used it over and over and it still works! (Charlie Rangel is already pinning Acorn on Bush’s tail.) You’d think the press would notice that curtailing freedom of speech has repercussions but they’ve all drunk Koolaid.
Vee aaahr instrucccting
You cease and desissst, Bach Schnell!
Praise the Fatherland!
Sounds “fishy” to me...
The MSM thinks they will be part of the elite once the “transformation” is complete. They need to take a long hard look at what dictators, socialists and communists have historically done to the media once their usefulness is outlived. I called Humana yesterday and told them to keep supporting their seniors and the American people will back them up.
It would be incredible if just one of the state ran media networks actually started real journalism. Unfortunately, all that ever happens is a little piece like this every once and a while.
I’d say some testimonials from former Soviet citizenry are in order here.
The tyrannical, dictatorial actions by this guy Obama’s misAdministration appear common to much of what I read, and understood of the Communist Soviet style during the Cold War era.
...and NO people, Communism contrary to what the Leftists whom promoted the SOB, and his sycophant ilk currently running this country have said since the fall of the Berlin Wall IS NOT DEAD.
How do we get a copy of both the Humana letter and the Nazis’ cease and desist order? I would love to get them and then have everyone send it out to 5 other people who would send it out to 5 other people, etc. Let’s go viral! Let’s do Humana’s job for them since they are apparently scared of the ass-monkeys in D.C. If I was the head of Humana I would have told them to go F themselves.
Over reaching is a Democrat party principle.
Time to cut their over reaching hands off.
I am happy at least one network, besides Fox, had the fortitude to report on this. Perhaps this is the crack in the dam...time will tell.
See, I always thought a newsman or woman made their name by going against the administration. Find the dirt on them. Not by climbing up obozo’s ass.
Why would ANYONE want this crap passed?
I ask liberals..."is it because they did such a great job with The Postal Service, Medi-care & AMTRAK?"
Think with FACTS, not feeeeelings.
from HHS (link was in article)
Ah, well then I suppose AARP shouldn’t be proselytizing the wonders of Obamacare then? No? Oh, I get it...
‘OBEY The Won and his minions, proles, if you know what’s good for you. Otherwise, we’ll investigate you for some obscure regulatory violation and send Acorn to sit on your doorstep. Geddit?’
Srew their gag order.
I am beyond outraged...more so at the fact that this is not headline news everywhere in the country.
[See? I am so po-ed I can’t even screw right]
“I am beyond outraged...more so at the fact that this is not headline news everywhere in the country.”
I thought so too. I tried to put it as Frontpage News, but someone took it off.