In its Friday ruling, Medicare slapped Humana on the wrist for disseminating information that it claimed was "misleading to beneficiaries"—even though it was perfectly true—but also lifted the gag order. Insurers will be allowed to communicate with enrollees, provided they get permission. This is basically a concession that the critics are right, especially considering that Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius defended the policy as recently as two weeks ago while refusing to answer questions about this raw political coercion from a supposedly impartial federal bureaucracy.I hate to say it, but this sort of high-handed shenanigans feels an awful lot like Hugo Chavez' blatant manipulations...
Meanwhile, the Administration is now threatening to strip the insurance industry of its decades-long exemption from antitrust law. This would blow a hole in the industry's profitability, as would ObamaCare for different reasons. The industry now faces a choice of playing ball with Democrats and getting punished, or trying to defeat the bill and being brutalized as an act of political revenge. This is the industry's reward for spending millions to promote "reform" in the hopes of not becoming a political target. It's still a target, and now it's poised to lose the policy fight too.
Monday, October 19, 2009
The Humana insurance company recently had the temerity to tell its subscribers that Obama's proposals were likely to raise their costs. The Obama administration immediately slapped a (highly illegal) gag order on them. Now comes this:
The new book SuperFreakonomics has been slammed by the global warmenists as, well, a pack of lies. One of the authors strikes back with a post about the anatomy of the smear, in (of all places!) the New York Times. Recommended read...
New discoveries about Jupiter's moon Europa:
Read it all. It sounds like something from a science-fiction novel...New research suggests that there is plenty of oxygen available in the subsurface ocean of Europa to support oxygen-based metabolic processes for life similar to that on Earth. In fact, there may be enough oxygen to support complex, animal-like organisms with greater oxygen demands than microorganisms.
The global ocean on Jupiter’s moon Europa contains about twice the liquid water of all the Earth’s oceans combined. New research suggests that there may be plenty of oxygen available in that ocean to support life, a hundred times more oxygen than previously estimated.
The chances for life there have been uncertain, because Europa’s ocean lies beneath several miles of ice, which separates it from the production of oxygen at the surface by energetic charged particles (similar to cosmic rays). Without oxygen, life could conceivably exist at hot springs in the ocean floor using exotic metabolic chemistries, based on sulfur or the production of methane. However, it is not certain whether the ocean floor actually would provide the conditions for such life.