by Ben Cohen
Megan McArdle putting her wonderfully confusing sentences to use again, this time to promote the rights of corporate America to lie about healthcare:
It is not okay for the administration to say, "If you publish a report
saying that our plan will make premiums go up, we will use our
regulatory authority in an entirely different matter to punish you." I
don't see how that's much different from saying, "If journalists
criticize the administration, we will use our commercial speech
authority to undercut your ad revenue". Enterprises, even commercial
enterprises, have a right to put forth political arguments.
This analogy is perhaps one of the most ridiculous ones I've seen Megan use, and that is saying something. When the insurance industry produces a widely debunked report that states their premiums would go up if a public option was introduced, the government 1. Has the right to call bullshit. 2. Has the right to make an even stronger argument for regulation and a public option.
The report was a last minute effort by the industry to smash the public option, and it ended up having the opposite effect. By effectively threatening the public, they made the perfect argument as to why they should be severely regulated. The report wasn't accurate, and even if it was, so what? It would have only underlined how completely pointless the private insurance industry is in the first place. It is then entirely laughable for Megan then to say that the Government behaved inappropriately.
Threatening to regulate an industry that denies coverage to underweight babies, victims of rape and the severely handicapped, rips off millions of Americans and pays its executives millions of dollars in compensation, is not the same as cutting ad revenue for media organizations critical of the Administration. It's not even remotely similar, and God knows why anyone at the Atlantic allowed her to publish such drivel.