Contemplating Health Care Reform

Monday, September 21, 2009

Farewell, Free Speech

The debate over health care has taken a frightening new turn. David Henderson of EconLog blogs about the HHS threatening Humana and demanding it stop mailer because its information runs counter to the current administration's narrative on health care reform.
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.

The HHS threatened to take action against Humana if it didn't stop sending out its mailer.
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?

When we allow the government to exercise its might to strip us of our basic right to speech, to stifle opposition at its whim, then we are in deep trouble. Then, we are on the road from freedom to tyranny. To serfdom.

1 comment:

  1. Under the regs that govern Medicare Advantage all marketing materials must be submitted for approval by the Feds before they can be released to beneficiaries. HUMANA claims, reasonably IMO, that they were publishing an info piece (website too) not marketing materials. With 50% of revenue from Govt. programs, they can't afford to fight back.