Thursday, September 24, 2009

I just hate it…

…when I think Republicans are right. From The Washington Independent (my emphasis)...
The ruckus began last week when the federal Medicare agency announced an investigation into Humana for letters the insurance giant had mailed to seniors warning that the Democrats’ health reform plans were threatening their private insurance coverage, called Medicare Advantage. The letters urged the seniors to contact their lawmakers opposing the legislation.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services claim those letters represent a breach of contract, because CMS requires MA sponsors to screen such mailings through the agency. CMS has barred all MA sponsors from sending similar messages to their customers. Republicans, though, say the First Amendment trumps the CMS guidelines.
I don't think blocking HHS confirmations is the best way to establish Constitutional principles, but a political gag order as a condition of a government contract sounds like a pretty cut and dried violation of 1st Amendment.

The civil libertarian in me is pretty sure that "no law" means no law, regulation, compact or clause. I'd like to think there are other Democrats who agree, and I hope we hear from them soon.

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