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Repealing the Antitrust Exemption for Health Insurance Companies
Posted by Jesse Lee on February 23, 2010 at 07:52 PM EST
In his press briefing today, Press Secretary Robert Gibbs announced another step to make sure our health care system works for the benefit of American families, not for the benefit of health insurance companies:
[T]oday the President announced the administration’s strong support for repealing the antitrust exemption currently enjoyed by health insurers. At its core, health reform is all about ensuring that American families and businesses have more choices, benefit from more competition, and have greater control over their own health care. Repealing this exemption is an important part of that effort.
Today there are no rules outlawing bid rigging, price fixing, and other insurance company practices that will drive up health care costs, and often drive up their own profits as well.
The President's support was made official in a statement of administration policy (SAP) sent to Congress as the House considers that legislation in the coming days. Here's the SAP (pdf):
STATEMENT OF ADMINISTRATION POLICY
H.R. 4626 — Health Insurance Industry Fair Competition Act
(Rep. Perriello, D-Virginia, and 65 cosponsors)
The Administration strongly supports House passage of H.R. 4626. The repeal of the antitrust exemption in the McCarran-Ferguson Act as it applies to the health insurance industry would give American families and businesses, big and small, more control over their own health care choices by promoting greater insurance competition. The repeal also will outlaw existing, anti-competitive health insurance practices like price fixing, bid rigging, and market allocation that drive up costs for all Americans. Health insurance reform should be built on a strong commitment to competition in all health care markets, including health insurance. This bill will benefit the American health care consumer by ensuring that competition has a prominent role in reforming health insurance markets throughout the Nation.