A word made all but meaningless by its frivolous use does actually have its applications.
Maybe Senate Finance Chairman Max Baucus should put a gag order on Douglas Elmendorf too. On Tuesday, the Congressional Budget Office director told Mr. Baucus’s committee that its plan to cut $123 billion from Medicare Advantageâ€”the program that gives almost one-fourth of seniors private health-insurance optionsâ€”will result in lower benefits and some 2.7 million people losing this coverage.
Imagine that. Last week Mr. Baucus ordered Medicare regulators to investigate and likely punish Humana Inc. for trying to educate enrollees in its Advantage plans about precisely this fact. Jonathan Blum, acting director of a regulatory office in the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), said that a mailer Humana sent its customers was “misleading and confusing to beneficiaries, who may believe that it represents official communication about the Medicare Advantage program.”
Mr. Blum has also banned all Advantage contractors from telling their customers what Mr. Elmendorf has just told Congress. Mr. Blum happens to be a former senior aide to Mr. Baucus and a health adviser on the Obama transition team.
It’s the direct use of state power to stop a business from communicating with its own customers because what the business was communicating was at variance with the state’s plans for that business. Hit the link and keep reading.
Surely fascism has many more facets to it than that, but that’s a good example of the core commitment to the use of state power to further the ends of the state.
See the post previous to this one for another facet.