On Monday, Mr. Baucus issued a news release boasting of what he described as his efforts to keep the health care debate honest. “Baucus-requested investigation nails insurance scare tactics,” the news release proclaimed.In the news release, Mr. Baucus said that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, a division of the federal Department of Health and Human Services, had “cracked down on insurance company attempts to mislead and confuse beneficiaries about how they would be affected by health care reform legislation.”
There’s just one problem. It has come to RedState’s attention that the person at Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (“CMS”) that issued the threat to Humana is Jonathan Blum, a former senior Baucus staffer.See here:
CMS has named Jonathan Blum as the director of (CMM). Blum joins CMS from Avalere Health where he served as Vice President of Medicaid and Long-Term Care Practice. Blum most recently served on the professional staff of the Senate Finance Committee as an advisor to Chairman Max Baucus (D-MT) and other Finance Committee members on prescription drug and Medicare Advantage policies during the development of the Medicare Modernization Act.
This begs the question: Did Baucus and Blum coordinate the harassment? Did Senator Baucus and Jonathan Blum coordinate to threaten private insurers if those insurers spoke candidly about the implications of the Baucus plan? It would not be unusual for a former Senate aide to help his boss out. Weren’t some Abramoff crooks caught up in doing that? It seems entirely plausible that Max Baucus picked up the phone and asked Blum to unleash hell — abuse the power of CMS to threaten, bully, and silence honest opposition.Is it legal?