Health Care Reform

House Repeal of Health Insurance Antitrust Exemption Wins Overwhelmingly

Washington, D.C.–(ENEWSPF)–February 24, 2010.  House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers, Jr. (D-Mich.) issued the following statement upon House passage of H.R. 4626, The Health Insurance Industry Fair Competition Act by a vote of 406-19.

“The House passage of The Health Insurance Industry Fair Competition Act will end the mistake Congress made in 1945 when it added an antitrust exemption for insurance companies into the McCarran-Ferguson Act,” said Conyers. “The blanket antitrust exemption created by the 1945 bill has shielded health insurance companies from legal accountability for decades.

“Our nation’s antitrust laws exist as the principal protector of free-market competition and the prosperity it provides – the principal guarantee that businesses who want to offer choice and value to consumers can do so.

“The bill passed by the House today will uphold free-market protections by making insurance companies legally accountable for collusion schemes to fix prices, divide up markets and customers to restrict choice, and use monopoly power to sabotage anyone who seeks to offer meaningful competitive choice to consumers.

“Health insurance premiums continue to spiral ever-upward each year, with co-pays and deductibles taking further bites out of tight family budgets. Those families have a right to know they are not being victimized by insurers who should be competing to offer them choice and value, but instead are conspiring against them. With more and more people having to choose between having health insurance or having food on the table, this bill brings an end to the health insurance companies’ anti-competitive antitrust exemption.

“Today’s overwhelming vote is the clearest indication to date that strong support exists for healthcare reform.”