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Sunday, September 27, 2009
CNS Misleads on Supposed 'Gag Order'

A Sept. 24 article by Melanie Hunter-Omar misleadingly claims that the Department of Heath and Human Services "told Humana Inc. and other health care companies that contract with Medicare to stop sending information to seniors about how the [health care reform] measure might affect their Medicare benefits - this after Humana Inc. sent a mailer to seniors saying the health care bill could cut their benefits."

In fact, as we detailed, HHS told Humana to stop making misleading claims about health care reform and to not misuse Medicare enrollee mailing lists. Hunter Omar uncritically forwarded the claim that the HHS request is a "gag order" despite the fact that the health insurance companies are not prohibited from providing factual information -- only misleading information and electioneering using Medicare mailing lists.

At no point did Hunter-Omar directly quote any administration official or HHS. Rather, she focuses solely on a letter by Republican leaders stating that they will "block the nominations of President Barack Obama’s health nominees until the Health and Human Services Department drops its 'gag order.' "

Posted by Terry K. at 2:38 PM EDT

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