Monday, September 13, 2010

Gangster Government in Action

Even though I've been in Washington for 25 years, I still get nauseated by the predatory behavior of the looters and moochers. The latest example of disgusting behavior is from the Secretary of Health and Human Services, who is engaging in Hugo Chavez-style threats to block insurance companies from raising rates in response to the new costs imposed by Obamacare. Michael Barone's column and a Wall Street Journal editorial capture the odious nature of this banana republic stunt. Here's part of what Barone wrote:
"There will be zero tolerance for this type of misinformation and unjustified rate increases." ...Secretary Sebelius objects to claims by health insurers that they are raising premiums because of increased costs imposed by the Obamacare law passed by Congress last March. ...Sebelius has "zero tolerance" for that kind of thing. She promises to issue regulations to require "state or federal review of all potentially unreasonable rate increases" (which would presumably mean all rate increases). And there's a threat. "We will also keep track of insurers with a record of unjustified rate increases: Those plans may be excluded from health insurance Exchanges in 2014." That's a significant date, the first year in which state insurance exchanges are slated to get a monopoly on the issuance of individual health insurance policies. Sebelius is threatening to put health insurers out of business in a substantial portion of the market if they state that Obamacare is boosting their costs. "Congress shall make no law," reads the First Amendment, "abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press." Sebelius' approach is different: "zero tolerance" for dissent. The threat to use government regulation to destroy or harm someone's business because they disagree with government officials is thuggery. Like the Obama administration's transfer of money from Chrysler bondholders to its political allies in the United Auto Workers, it is a form of gangster government. ...Sebelius and the Obama administration...want to stamp out negative speech about Obamacare. "Zero tolerance" means they are ready to use the powers of government to threaten economic harm on those who dissent.
Here's a blurb from the WSJ:
The White House was always going to blame insurance companies for any cost increases, even when its own policies cause them. Witness Kathleen Sebelius's Thursday letter to America's Health Insurance Plans, the industry trade group—a thuggish message even by her standards. The Health and Human Services secretary wrote that some insurers have been attributing part of their 2011 premium increases to ObamaCare and warned that "there will be zero tolerance for this type of misinformation and unjustified rate increases." Zero tolerance for expressing an opinion, or offering an explanation to policyholders? They're more subtle than this in Caracas. ...This is nasty stuff and an obvious attempt to shift political blame for rising insurance costs before the election. It's also an early sign of life under ObamaCare, when all health-care decisions are political and the bureaucrats decide who can charge how much for a service or product.

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