Free speech for those willing to pay the price

Michael Tanner of the Cato Institute characterized this week’s threats from the Obama administration against insurance companies that blame ObamaCare for rate hikes as tantamount to thugishness.

Actually, this is how he put it:

“The mobster walks into an office. ‘Mighty nice insurance company you have here,’ he muses. ‘Be a shame if anything happened to it.’ Shortly thereafter the business owner ‘voluntarily’ hands over a payment for ‘protection.’

“The Obama administration didn’t quite pull a page from the Sopranos last week — but it came awfully close.”

Health and Human Service Secretary Kathleen Sebelius wrote to insurers, "We will not stand idly by as insurers blame their premium hikes … on the requirement that they provide consumers with basic protections."

Sound familiar?

Here’s a lede from a New York Times article in October 2009:

“WASHINGTON — President Obama mounted a frontal assault on the insurance industry on Saturday, accusing it of using ‘deceptive and dishonest ads’ to derail his health care legislation and threatening to strip the industry of its longstanding exemption from federal antitrust laws.

“In unusually harsh terms, Mr. Obama cast insurance companies as obstacles to change interested only in preserving their own ‘profits and bonuses’ and willing to ‘bend the truth or break it’ to stop his drive to remake the nation’s health care system.”

He threatened to take away their anti-trust exemption.


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