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Republicans Score Victory for Nation’s Seniors

October 20, 2009

After nearly a month of requests from Ways and Means Republicans to remove the misguided gag order placed on Medicare plans from communicating with their members, the Obama Administration finally lifted the ban Friday evening. As a result, Medicare plans will once again be able to communicate factual information on pending legislation without penalty or political pressure.

Below are a few news articles on the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ (CMS) gag order reversal and editorials from the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal supporting House Republicans’ efforts. The New York Times went so far as to summarize CMS’ gag order as, “a sorry attempt to stifle debate.”

AP: “The Obama administration Friday backed away from a ban on insurance company mailings to seniors warning of dire Medicare cuts if health care overhaul legislation is approved.”

Politico: “In what Republicans are touting as a political victory, the Obama administration on Friday backed off an order that private insurers refrain from sending political messages to their Medicare beneficiaries.”

New York Times: “The Obama administration on Friday backed away from an order that had prohibited insurance companies from warning Medicare recipients about the possible loss of benefits under pending legislation to overhaul the health care system.”

New York Times Editorial:  CMS was “unable to point to anything misleading in the enclosed letter, which warned beneficiaries that if subsidies are cut to Medicare Advantage plans, many of them could face higher costs or reduced benefits.”

Wall Street Journal Editorial: “There’s nothing like a Friday evening news release to hide a Washington embarrassment… 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.”