Citizens group files FOIA on HHS health care gag order

 

A federal Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request has been filed by a citizens activist group seeking the rest of the story behind the recent gag order issued by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services against health insurance companies to prevent them from providing customers with information about Obamacare.

Let Freedom Ring has posted the text of its FOIA request on its web site. The key graph reads:

“Pursuant to the Federal Freedom of Information Act, 5 U.S.C. § 552, I request access to and copies of all correspondence, notes, emails, faxes, telephone logs, office visit logs, records of meetings and related documents exchanged between United States Senator Max Baucus' office and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services of the U. S. Department of Health and Human Services (CMS) directly or indirectly related to a letter that Humana, Inc. sent to its Medicare Advantage policyholders suggesting that proposed health-care legislation could lower their benefits.”
 
When Congress passed the FOIA in 1966, it exempted itself from coverage. But executive branch departments like HHS are covered and thus cannot withhold documents such as letters or memos from members of the Baucus legislative staff to department officiais.
 
Here's the Examiner's initial Beltway Confidential post on this issue, which appeared Sept. 28. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell distilled what is at stake in the situation:
 

“This episode should be of serious concern to millions of seniors on Medicare who deserve to know what the government has in mind for their health care. But it should also frighten anyone who cherishes their First Amendment right to free speech — whether in Louisville, Helena, San Francisco or anywhere else.”
 
Senate Republicans have vowed to not allow any Obama appointees to be moved to confirmation until the HHS gag order is withdrawn.

 
 

Beltway ConfidentialHealth care reformseniorsUS

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

Former Stockton Mayor Michael Tubbs spoke to San Francisco’s new Guaranteed Income Advisory Group on April 16. (Courtesy SFGOV)
City launches task force to explore Universal Basic Income programs

San Francisco on Friday launched a guaranteed income task force that could… Continue reading

Muni’s K-Ingleside line will return six months earlier than previously announced. <ins>(Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)</ins>
K-Ingleside train to return on May 15

Announcement comes on the heels of pressure from Supervisor Myrna Melgar

Demonstrators march from Mission High School towards the San Francisco Police station on Valencia Street. (Jordi Molina/ Special to the S.F. Examiner)
Vigil, march honors those killed by police

Deaths of Daunte Wright, Roger Allen and others prompt renewed calls for defunding

A Recology employee stands at the comapany’s recycling facility on Pier 96 in 2016. (Jessica Christian/2016 S.F. Examiner)
Nuru scandal: Feds charge second former Recology executive with bribery

A second former Recology executive is facing charges for allegedly bribing ex-Public… Continue reading

Skier Andy Padlo crosses a frozen Spicer Reservoir. (Courtesy photo)
Stormy weather tests skiers’ mettle on Dardanelle traverse

Overcoming challenges makes outings more rewarding

Most Read