House Committee Votes To Strip Health Insurance Industry Of Federal Antitrust Exemption
The House Judiciary Committee Wednesday "voted to strip the health insurance industry of its exemption from federal antitrust laws as senators announced plans to take the same step," The Associated Press reports. The committee voted "20 to 9 to repeal a 1940s law that exempted the health insurance industry from federal controls over certain antitrust violations including price-fixing."
The developments "signaled a growing determination by Democrats to punish the insurance industry for its criticism of President Barack Obama's health care overhaul agenda. ... In the Senate, Majority Leader Harry Reid announced plans to repeal the antitrust exemption as part of its health care legislation" (10/21).
Dow Jones: "Democrats said the bill will improve competition in the insurance industry and expressed hope that the measure would be added to legislation to overhaul the health-care system. 'We can open up our health insurance markets to real competition and make an important contribution to the health reform efforts underway in both houses of Congress,' said Rep. John Conyers (D., Mich.) the chairman of the committee.
Republican opponents said the bill could add a confusing new layer of federal regulation that would interfere with traditional state regulation of insurance. Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R., Va.) said the bill would harm small insurers and he accused Democrats of being motivated by a desire to score points against the insurance industry. 'This bill is being brought up to weaken the insurance industry's opposition ... to the health care bill,' he said" (Kendall, 10/21).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.