Removing Health Insurance’s Antitrust Exemption — will Lower its Cost

(9 am. – promoted by ek hornbeck)

With all the other HCR news, you may have missed this important tidbit. (I know I did.)

House Votes To Repeal Antitrust Exemption for Health Insurance Firms

Thursday, February 25, 2010

On Wednesday, the House voted 406-19 to end a 65-year-old antitrust exemption for health insurance companies, part of Democrats’ broader strategy to revive their health reform efforts ahead of Thursday’s bipartisan health care summit, Roll Call reports (Dennis, Roll Call, 2/25).

The bill (HR 4626) would amend the 1945 McCarran-Ferguson Act, which exempts insurers from federal antitrust law if they are regulated by the states.

http://www.californiahealthlin…

Granted it’s NOT the Public Option, BUT still it’s important to finally putting the brakes on the run-away rising costs of Health Care, hopefully

Competition, Free Markets, Choice — in every other industry, besides Health Insurance — these are the economic keys to delivering the most Quality, to the most People, at the LEAST Cost.

SO What makes the Health Care Insurance Industry SO special, that they deserve an Exemption, from these basic “Free Market” competitive forces?

Democrats launch attack on insurer exemption

By PATRICK O’CONNOR & CARRIE BUDOFF BROWN – 10/14/2009

Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) on Wednesday called for an amendment to the health care reform bill that would remove the long-standing antitrust exemption for insurers, echoing a push by other Democrats to crack down on the industry.

The health insurance’s antitrust exemption is one of the worst accidents of American history,” Schumer said. “It deserves a lot of the blame for the huge rise in premiums that has made health insurance so unaffordable. It is time to end this special status and bring true competition to the health insurance industry.”

[…]

As for insurance companies, “There isn’t anything we could do to satisfy them in this health care bill. Nothing,” Reid said. “They are so anti-competitive. Why? Because they make more money than any other business in America today. . . .What a sweet deal they have.”

The exemption, known as McCarran-Ferguson, cedes regulatory control of the industry, on the business side, to individual states. But repealing the antitrust exemption would give the federal government more authority to oversee the business side of health insurance companies – something states now have the sole authority to monitor.

[…]

Leahy’s bill would repeal the exemption established in the 1945 McCarran-Ferguson Act for any companies engaged in price fixing or bid rigging – which are both already illegal.

http://www.politico.com/news/s…

Competition, Free Markets, Choice — I thought these were basic pro-business principles —

SO why is the GOP SO dead set against making this sweet-heart Industry, play by Free Market rules, that most of the rest of us have to live by?

Could it be that, maybe, THEY are in on some of those free-wheeling profits?  It’s amazing what a few well-placed campaign contributions, can do to influence a Gopher, in what they stand for.

Perhaps the Senate Republicans should take a cue from the AMA President, and get with the program, for getting this Country moving again?

Health Insurance Competition Vanishing: Study

Consolidation has not helped patients, says AMA president

THURSDAY, Feb. 25, 2010 (HealthDay News)

Competition in the health insurance industry is vanishing, according to an American Medical Association report that looked at data from 43 states and 313 metropolitan markets.

In 24 of the states, the two largest insurers had a combined market share of 70 percent or more. Last year, 18 of 42 states had that type of market situation.

[…]

The near total collapse of competitive and dynamic health insurance markets has not helped patients,” AMA President Dr. J. James Rohack said in a new release.

[…]

Rohack added that a lack of competition in the health insurance industry “is clearly not in the best economic interest of patients,” and the AMA wants the U.S. Department of Justice and state agencies “to more aggressively enforce antitrust laws that prohibit harmful mergers.”

http://www.businessweek.com/lifestyle/content/healthday/636365.html

Competition, Free Markets, Choice — it’s the basis of the Federal Employees Benefits “Menu”, now. They can choose from Dozens of Insurance “Entrees” — this helps to keep Quality up, and Prices down!

AND if it’s good enough for Federal Employees, like those who Represent the People — It should be good enough for the People they Represent!

Give the People a Choice of Insurance Plans, competing on a Nationwide “Free Market” Exchange!  

Give All the People, the access we deserve, to Quality, Affordable Health Care — NOW!

(Just like the “Menu” our distinguished leaders have, NOW.)

7 comments

Skip to comment form

    • jamess on February 26, 2010 at 3:09 am
      Author

    of eating at the K-Mart Cafeteria!

    • TMC on February 26, 2010 at 3:15 am

    that is being held “hostage” by the obstructionist Republicans and their blue dog Democratic allies?

    • Xanthe on February 26, 2010 at 8:29 pm

    states that health insurance is one of the most regulated industries in America at the Fed and state levels.

    The real focus should be on addressing the rising cost of medical care, which is putting an unsustainable burden on families, employers and the federal budget, says Ignani.

    What a novel idea!

    and

    the bill is an atempt to solve a problem that doesn’t exist.

    from CNSNews.com 2/26/10

    Who knew?  Somebody hand me that pitchfork leaning against that tree.

  1. in long past years featured a choice of five health plans complete with books outlining benefits, doctors and costs.

    That has been reduced to buying a stamp for the Mass State tax return saying I have “insurance” for $500 bucks a month.

  2. How in the world did B of A, Chase, and Wells Fargo end up so dominant? And Goldman, all by themselves as a hybrid freak one stop everything bankabrokerage monster?  

    • tegrat on March 1, 2010 at 5:59 pm

    of healthcare.  Improved competition might add pressure to insurers to lower internal costs such as excessive executive salaries, and that’s only if they are in a competitive market (most aren’t).  The primary outcome of competition will unfortunately be a race to the shoddiest products with the lowest actuarial value as costs are shifted onto clients.  Expect a lot of deceptive advertising as well as the companies re-label their products.  In short, health insurance might cost less, but the suffering of the people will continue to increase without a radical shift in our approach to financing healthcare (something along the lines of what every other wealthy nation does).

Comments have been disabled.