A spokesman for Rep. Bart Stupak, D-Mich., said Tuesday night that 52 letters had been sent to health insurers with $2 billion or more in annual premiums.
The request to insurance companies included records relating to compensation of highly paid employees, documents relating to companies' premium income and claims payments, and information on expenses stemming from any event held outside company facilities in the past 2½ years.
The requests were made in letters signed by Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., who guided a portion of health care legislation through the House Energy and Commerce Committee last month as chairman, and Stupak, who heads a subcommittee on the panel.
To believe that letters of this kind coming from powerful politicians can seriously be considered “requests” is naïve, to put it mildly. In our mixed economy, where the tentacles of government control and coercion extend into virtually every nook and cranny of private business, the letters “asking” for this kind of information can only be viewed as threatening. There is no telling what kind of retribution may be brought down on any company that fails to comply with the wishes of Waxman and Stupak.
And this brings me to a point I have been making about the attempt to create a government-run health insurance “public option” to “compete” with private insurers. In response to a Star-Ledger letter writer, I wrote:
The government is a unique institution, distinguished by its legal monopoly on the use of physical force. America's great achievement was to limit that compulsive power to the protection of our inalienable individual rights. That is government's proper role. Stepping outside of those constraints invalidates government, as America's Founders understood.
The proposed "public option" is intended to destroy private health insurance, and clear the way for single-payer medical tyranny. Everyone knows it. The politicians will do whatever it takes to support their "competitor". They will use government's tax and monetary powers to keep premiums "affordable"; regulatory powers to hamper private insurers; force below-market prices on providers; harass private executives with explicit or implied "back-room" threats using the arbitrary and capricious powers of the regulatory apparatus, the IRS, or antitrust division of the Justice Department. The employment of government's unique powers of legalized physical force to destroy private businesses, industries, and livelihoods is legalized criminality. (Emphasis added)
The House committee request is a concrete example of “explicit or implied threats” by representatives of the unique institution that holds the legal monopoly on the use of physical force. Reports AP:
Robert Zirkelbach, spokesman for the American Health Insurance Plans, said Democrats on the panel hoped to "silence the health insurance industry” [by] mounting a "fishing expedition" [to] “distract attention away from the fact that the American people are rejecting a government-run plan" as part of President Barack Obama's planned overhaul.
Whatever the reason, the fact is that the heavily controlled and regulated private health insurance industry is directly threatened by any public “option”. The request for the private company records without warrants, court orders, probable cause of any legal wrongdoing, etc., during this contentious period leading up to a vote on the future of American healthcare cannot be seen as a coincidence. If a public option is ever established, whether it comes in the form of a government-run plan, government controlled “co-ops”, or any other guise, it will mean the end of most private insurance and a huge step toward socialized medicine.
The Democrats have unintentionally flashed a clear warning signal, and a lesson on the workings of a mixed economy government.