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Baucus Mafia Stifles Dissent

I wrote earlier today about the thuggish tactics employed by Washington Democrats to get their health rationing plan passed. Astute readers will note that the name ‘Max Baucus’ seems to pop up over and over – lecturing the Congressional Budget Office on how much the health care bill should ‘cost,’ telling unions what ads they can and cannot air, and warning lobbyists that they need to make sure they’re on ‘the right team.’

Had I written that post a few hours later, I would have included Baucus’ push to hide the actual language of his health care bill until after the Finance Committee had approved it, and his use of a former staffer to muzzle those who disagree with him:

Jonathan Blum, the administration official at the center of a growing flap over alleged efforts to “muzzle” insurance companies critical of Democratic health care reform efforts, is a former senior aide to Senate Finance Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) — who originally asked the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to investigate the companies critical of his bill.

Blum, who worked on the Finance Committee on Medicare and Medicaid issues, was appointed by President Barack Obama as acting director of CMS’ Center for Drug and Health Plan Choices this spring. Prior to taking the directorship, he also acted as a health care policy adviser on Obama’s transition team…

At Blum’s direction, the CMS launched an investigation and sent Humana a letter warning the company to halt further mailings.

Barack Obama has not even nominated a head for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. As Acting Director of CMS, it would have been easy for Baucus and his staff to reach out to a former employee, so that he could act to quiet the complaints of the companies that he oversees.

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