A Victory for America's Seniors

Michele Bachmann
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Posted: Oct 20, 2009 3:27 PM
UPDATE: It's been almost a month since the Obama Administration slapped a gag order on Medicare insurers preventing them from communicating with their members about how the health reform proposals may affect their coverage. Thankfully, in the wake of criticism from so many of us in Congress, the Obama Administration has finally lifted the ban. 

As the New York Times editorial board said today: 

The Obama Administration has dropped its ham-handed attempt to stop health insurers from warning buyers of private Medicare Advantage plans that their extra benefits might be cut under pending health care legislation.

What a great victory for America's seniors!

(Original Post on 9/23/09)
If you didn't believe that the President planned on paying for his health care overhaul in part by cutting Medicare, more than $100 billion in cuts, wait until you hear this.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), which runs Medicare, has engaged in what can be argued as government intimidation, plain and simple. Remember when the EPA suppressed an internal report that raised questions about global warming, including whether carbon dioxide must be strictly regulated by the federal government? They couldn't let a little thing like facts get in the way of passing their cap-and-trade national energy tax.

Well, gangster government is at it again.

According to the House Ways and Means Committee, "the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) initiated an investigation into at least one provider of a Medicare Advantage (MA) health care plan for informing its enrollees that Medicare cuts proposed by the President and congressional Democrats could alter their benefits.  In addition to this investigation, CMS has since banned all MA health plans from providing similar information to beneficiaries."

Congressman Dave Camp, ranking Republican member of the Committee has taken CMS to task for this gag order. Yesterday, he sent a letter to CMS Acting Administrator Charlene Frizzera, noting that, “no such pressure has been applied to those supportive of the President’s Medicare cuts.” 

In fact, the Committee notes, "AARP, which boasts the largest MA plan, for example, has directly communicated with its members via email, a website and letters.  However, AARP’s pro-Medicare cut stance has apparently received no such scrutiny from the Administration.  CMS’ selective use of its regulatory authority, 'threatens the integrity of the agency and of our democracy.'"

Again, another clear example of the government silencing its critics while letting its allies carry on with their business.  About 11 million seniors use Medicare Advantage for their health coverage.  They deserve to know that the burden of paying for the President’s health plan will be on their shoulders.  They deserve some answers, and so do the taxpayers.