First it was Congress going after health insurers. Now the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) are none too happy with them, either.

Humana (NYSE:HUM) apparently sent out a letter to its members essentially warning them that parts of whatever health-care reform passes might not be in their best interest. If the government cuts the Medicare Advantage payment rates, for instance, insurers will have to increase their premiums to make up the difference.

It seems completely reasonable for companies to want to look out for their customers' interests, especially if doing so in the companies' best interest, too. Further, companies are allowed to spend money lobbying Congress, donating to campaigns, and even buying advertisements to try to get citizens to call their political leaders. Why is sending a letter to its customers so bad, if that's how Humana wants to spend its money?

Well, because these were Medicare Advantage members, a program that's regulated by CMS. The agency didn't like it that Humana was using protected Medicare mailing lists for political reasons.

Of course, that's not how Republicans see it. They believe CMS is putting a gag order on Humana, Aetna (NYSE:AET), Cigna (NYSE:CI), UnitedHealth Group (NYSE:UNH), and the rest of the companies that offer Medicare plans by not letting them communicate with their members.

As long as CMS doesn't take a major action like not letting Humana enroll new patients -- it has that power and used it earlier this year on WellPoint (NYSE:WLP) -- I can't see how a ban on sending political commentary to their members is going to be anything more than a minor inconvenience for the health insurers.

It seems, however, that this is becoming a distraction in Washington, and that could actually be a good thing for the insurers -- and their shareholders.

Was CMS correct in reining in the ability to use its mailing list for political messages? Or should Humana and the others be allowed to send what they want to their customers? Let us know in the comments section, below. And come back daily for coverage of the health-care debate to see how it might affect you and your investments.

UnitedHealth is a Motley Fool Stock Advisor pick. UnitedHealth and WellPoint are Inside Value recommendations.

Fool contributor Brian Orelli, Ph.D., doesn't own shares of any company mentioned in this article. The Fool owns shares of UnitedHealth and has a disclosure policy.