I was at a conference on free speech this weekend, and thus missed the excitement of balloon boy and other assorted tempests in a teapot. I did, however, catch bits of Obama's speech, in which he joins Congress in threatening to remove the insurance company's anti-trust exemption, as a not-so-hidden payback for their report on insurance premiums.
She means their threat to jack up insurance prices to unbearable levels, thus depriving many people of insurance, if the government tries to reform their excesses.
Why should I worry about this so much? Isn't this just libertarian hysteria?
I don't think it is. I think this is fundamentally about freedom of the press.
That's ludicrous. It's a report/press release from insurance company lobbyists. It has nothing to do with journalism.
I know, I know--it's just an industry-funded study! How can I elevate that to "the press"?
Because you're a hack who's basically a corporation-funded lackey who issues reports/press releases from the health industry?
Because the idea we have about journalists being some sacred, special group that has "freedom of the press" is, like the idea that militias=national guard, pretty ahistorical.
We're not talking about the press.
Freedom of the press was not a right accorded to the profession of journalism, on the grounds of their sacred and responsible conduct, because there was no profession of journalism.
We're still not talking about the press.
Presses were owned by individuals, who engaged in all manner of speech, commercial and non.
Again, not the press.
Freedom of the press was not the freedom to own a newspaper or magazine, and say what you wanted therein.
It was the freedom to disseminate written speech.
That statement explains everything about the Villagers and their wanna-bes. The freedom of the press is the freedom to pass out the written speech of your corporate masters. Unbelievable!
I know that at least some of my readers are gearing up to point out that we do regulate commercial speech. But this wasn't commercial speech. It wasn't even speech by a corporation. AHIP is a legal trade association.
So if I, a corporation, hire an advertising firm or lobbyist I am exempt from regulation? Cool!
Threatening to strip their anti-trust exemption as a quid-pro-quo is the kind of thing that sounds cute until someone thinks up a way to do it to people on your side. Would it be okay for a Republican administration to threaten Democratic groups that say unpleasing things by promising to pass laws--however sound--that would decimate the fortunes of George Soros and other big backers? Or openly declare that if unions didn't stop issuing reports in favor of a higher minimum wage, the administration would have to revisit Taft-Hartley?
I have two words for the unfortunate amnesiac Miss McArdle: Karl Rove.
Though I'm fairly sure that the PWC report is right about the ultimate direction of the change in premiums due to health care reform, the methodology by which they arrive at that conclusion is not sound enough for me to rely on any of their conclusions.
And I've been burned one time too many to take the risk of lying again.
And I don't see much reason to defend the anti-trust exemption as a general matter--though the argument that this helps small insurers set rates correctly doesn't sound entirely crazy, either. But I am very sure that changes in the laws should never be wielded as weapons to punish speech that politicians don't like. If publishing reports with questionable assumptions were actually a crime, most of the people complaining about AHIP would be in jail right now.
It's interesting that she thinks this tactic is effective. She is assuming that everyone else has no morality and therefore has committed immoral acts, so she's warning them that they'll be exposed if they try to expose others. No wonder she was asking if blackmail should be illegal.
Because the idea we have about journalists being some sacred, special group...
The only people who think journalists are "some sacred, special group" are other journalists.
She thinks Taft-Hartley was Pro- Union?!
Stupidity without limits.
And I don't see much reason to defend the anti-trust exemption as a general matter--though the argument that this helps small insurers set rates correctly doesn't sound entirely crazy, . . .
I'm very confused. How do you "correctly" set rates? And how does being a monopoly help you correctly set rates? Can only monopolies correctly set rates? Are there any "small insurers" left anywhere in this industry that need help correctly setting rates? Will all this ever be over? Does the fact that Megan lives and breathes prove that there is no God? And how in the world did she ever pass Freshman English?
This is the awesomeness of Megan McArdle. Her lies are bottomless, her logic is non-existant, and her neurotic behavior is endless. Don't you just want to lock her up in a lab and study her?
Susan, Susan, how do you do it. I went over there unescorted today and read her "piece" on Krugman and superfreakenomics and I had to sit down my head was spinning so hard. Its absolute gibberish. Even if you parse it like a latin schoolboy grammar you can't get to the bottom of its stupidity and its mendacity. I've never before encountered any person of whom it could more truly be said "everything was a lie, including the "and" and the "the."" You can see that I simply reproduced the first paragraph of today's effort and then gave up trying over at NMMNB.
Is it me, or does her whole thing not make sense? If the issue is that the gov't. is threatening to withdraw an anti-trust exemption for insurance companies because of a report the companies issued threatening to jack up premiums, this isn't a matter of "speech" or "the press."
The gov't. isn't responding to the report. It's responding to what the report says the insurance companies will do. It's the ANNOUNCED AND IMPENDING ACTION the gov't. will/would respond to. Not the document.
Seriously. Is this what she's saying? Or am I missing something?
Megan has a vested interest in making sure nobody is held to account for things they say or write.
Megan is Megan ... no news there.
But wouldn't it be great if we had a president and a congress that eliminated an exemption that never should have existed (rather than use the threat of elimination as a political tool) because it's the right thing to do?
This is a consistent tactic - defending the right to say incorrect or offensive things while distancing away from the statements when they are criticized on their fundamentals.
OF COURSE the insurance industry has the "right" to issue threats and release b.s. studies. Not a single person is disputing that. The criticism of the industry is not that they had the gall to write a press release, but that they have the gall to threaten the American population with health care blackmail so that they can preserve their profit-taking and bonuses.
McArdle even says in her own article that "the methodology by which they arrive at that conclusion is not sound enough for me to rely on any of their conclusions" but she can't recognize that this is precisely the criticism being thrown at the industry.
No one is telling the health insurance industry to shut up. They are just calling the industry on its lies.
I have no idea why she thought this rubbish was so clever she had to post it twice. It was clarifying to see how many of her fans think that on the 8th day, GOD granted limited liability protections and choice of venue.
If the issue is that the gov't. is threatening to withdraw an anti-trust exemption for insurance companies because of a report the companies issued threatening to jack up premiums, this isn't a matter of "speech" or "the press."
As you say, it's not in any way a "free speech" matter, but even if it were what the government threatens to do is not "punishment," it's removal of an undeserved special status exempting insurance companies from having to comply with laws other companies in other fields must comply with. If her argument that they need it to "set rates correctly" holds any water, doesn't their threat to set rates vindictively show the exemption is not only unnecessary but subject to abuse, making the government's response exactly correct?
The bizarre part is that in 2 posts Megan never questioned the actual policy. She was entirely fixated on her imaginary connection to some evil censorship that nobody even understood, much less recognized as real.
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