House Antitrust Bill Will Keep Exemption For Med-Mal Insurers
A House bill would revoke the antitrust exemption from health insurers but keep the exemption for medical malpractice insurers.
"House Democrats agreed to exclude medical malpractice insurers from legislation that would apply antitrust laws to health insurance companies, clearing the way for a vote on the measure this week," Bloomberg/Business Week reports. "The two-page bill would leave intact the antitrust exemption for property and casualty insurers, including those that indemnify doctors against malpractice. In a successful lobbying campaign, the malpractice insurers said the earlier draft of the measure would hurt small companies by exposing them to antitrust lawsuits." Robert Zirkelbach, spokesman for America's Health Insurance Plans, said the legislation would have little impact on the health insurance industry. "Health insurers raised concerns in a letter to lawmakers last week but haven't made the legislation a top lobbying priority, Zirkelbach said" (Woellert, 2/22).
National Underwriter: "The House Rules Committee will meet tomorrow to clear the bill for House floor action, expected as early as this week. An official of the risk-retention industry noted that it 'could have been particularly damaging to the formation of risk retention groups organized to cover medical liability risks.' Lawrence Smarr, president of the Physician Insurers Association of America, added that his trade group is 'very pleased,' but cautioned that the issue 'has had a long life' and may be resurrected in the Senate" (Postal, 2/22).
Related KHN Coverage - The Antitrust Exemption For Health Insurers: Meaningful Or Not? (Gold, 2/8)This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.