Humana, a major health care insurance company sent a one page mailer to 1.5 million of its customers that are enrolled in the Medicare Advantage Program. Humana is informing its customers that it does not believe that the health care legislation proposed by Senator Baucus will be able to protect their current benefits.
Here is the mailer:
Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., who is responsible for writing and guiding the “National Health Care Plan through Congress was outraged:
“It is wholly unacceptable for insurance companies to mislead seniors regarding any subject — particularly on a subject as important to them, and to the nation, as health care reform,” Baucus said Monday, September 21, 2009, disclosing his HHS investigation.
Montana Senator Max Baucus has requested an investigation of Humana, by The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) , for daring to criticize his health care reform proposal and disagreeing with him in the likely outcome should it be passed into law. HHS ordered the company to immediately halt any such mailings, and remove any related materials from its Web site. In the letter, the government also said it may take other action against Humana, which is based in Louisville, Ky.
Although there is nothing misleading about the Humana mailer, HHS alleged that seniors were so senile they would mistake the mailer for an official Medicare Communication.
This is a very alarming development for the First Amendment and Freedom of Speech in America.
Senator Baucus, just because you don’t think the Medicare cuts will lead to benefit cuts doesn’t make it the truth. The government has no right to censor communications between companies and their customers as long as no law is broken.
Suppression of opposite views is simply not tolerated by the First Amendment, and it is shocking that a United States Senator would use the power of his office to initiate an investigation of a private company simply because it does not share his analysis of pending legislation.
Below is the article from Reuters News Service.