The government is investigating a major insurance company for allegedly trying to scare seniors with a mailer warning they could lose important benefits under health care legislation in Congress.
The Health and Human Services Department launched its investigation of Humana after getting a complaint from Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., a senior lawmaker usually viewed as a reliable ally of the insurance industry.
“It is wholly unacceptable for insurance companies to mislead seniors regarding any subject — particularly on a subject as important to them, and to the nation, as health care reform,” Baucus said Monday, disclosing the HHS investigation.
Humana Inc., headquartered in Louisville, Ky., is cooperating with the investigation and stopped the mailer earlier this month, company spokesman Tom Noland said Monday.
It’s unlikely to stop here. Remember, Obama’s organization was threatening his critics even before he was elected president.
(Via the Corner.)
UPDATE: I thought that for-profit companies have weaker free-speech protection than other organizations, but it seems I was mistaken. Apparently the distinction is not based on the speaker, but on the sort of speech. Commercial speech (that is, speech that proposes a commercial transaction) is offered less protection than other sorts of speech. (I see no justification for even that distinction in the Constitution, but never mind.) Since Humana’s mailer is political speech, not commercial, it is Constitutionally protected.