Tuesday, September 22, 2009
So Much For Competition In Health Care
Thuggery, straight up. The Chicago Way is the Obama Way. He wants Americans angry at insurance companies and this is how he hopes to do it.
David Henderson writes:
One of the ways that governments try to "win" debates is to make debate by the other side illegal. This is what HHS is doing, at the behest of Senator Baucus. Asked on yesterday's Face the Nation on CBS whether a "sort of meanness" had settled "over our political dialogue," Obama said, "Right." I'm not sure that the questionner, Bob Schieffer, knows the difference between meanness and anger. I have seen some of the former, but much of the latter, at the various town hall meetings. But here's where Obama has a chance to practice what he preaches. He has the power to countermand HHS's order. And HHS's action would certainly qualify as mean. You can't get much meaner than to threaten someone with guns. And that is what a warning letter from HHS is. Think about what would happen if Humana ignored the HHS letter and kept speaking out critically on health care. The next step would be to bring Humana to court. If Humana refused, the next step would be, literally, for the Feds to come in with guns.
For years, various commentators have said that Friedrich Hayek, in The Road to Serfdom, and Milton Friedman, in Capitalism and Freedom, exaggerated the dangers to freedom of speech from government control. But also for years, drug companies have feared criticizing the FDA because the FDA has so much discretionary control over their economic livelihoods. Now HHS has upped the ante. Will the defenders of freedom of speech step up to defend Humana's rights, as opposed to Humana's statements. How many people will there be who disagree with what Humana said, but who defend (I don't even need "to the death"—I'll settle for a letter and postage stamp) their right to say it?
It ain't gonna work.