October 14, 2009
Schumer playing hardball with health insurance industry
Democrats are very upset that a health insurance industry trade group released a report saying that a family's health insurance will rise from about $12,000 a year to more than $21,000 under Obamacare.
Politico's Carrie Budoff Brown reports:
This morning, Senator Schumer is going to say, in light of the insurance industry report warning premiums will rise under reform, Dems should push to revoke the health insurance industry's antitrust exemption as a floor amendment. This will be at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, where Majority Leader Reid is also testifying.' 10 a.m., Dirksen 226, 'Prohibiting Price Fixing and Other Anticompetitive Conduct in the Health Insurance Industry.'
The health insurance industry worked with the Obama administration and the Democratic party to help craft what was hoped to be a rational health reform bill. The fact that the industry was working with these parties helped to diminish opposition to the health care "reform" efforts. The Baucus bill makes apparent that this was a charade - that the health industry and most Americans were going to be afflicted with much higher costs . The industry feels betrayed and has been thrown under the bus. They are responding by trying to inform Americans about the impact of this reform proposal.
The response by the Democrats? Threaten and extort as punishment for speaking truth to power. Senator Schumer, one of the leading Democrat power brokers, threatens the entire industry by signaling they might lose its antitrust exemption. He would do this with the connivance of fellow Democrats, through manipulating the legislative process by slyly attaching this measure as an amendment to a pre-existing piece of legislation.
This attempt to chill free speech and gut the First Amendment (done by all those lawyers in Congress and by the constitutional lawyer in the Oval Office) makes a mockery of their claim of bipartisanship and respect for the Constitution. We saw glimmers of this approach throughout the Obama's campaign: whether it be the use of the race card to shut down scrutiny, harassment of talk shows who dared to have qualms about Obama, or his refusal to answer questions about his past.
We recently saw yet another example of this attempt to end free speech when Medicare slapped a gag order and threatened an investigation of Humana after that company tried to inform its members about the consequences of the government's plans to gut the Medicare Advantage program.
This is hard ball politics at is absolute worse. Chicago mores (exemplified by our President's adherence to the philosophy of "if you bring a knife, I bring a gun" to the issue of dispute resolution) have corrupted Capitol Hill.
Al Capaone would be proud - as would Hugo Chavez, Fidel Castro and fellow tyrants around the world.