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Conyers, Leahy Introduce Bill To End Anti-Trust Exemption For Health Insurers

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ProSense Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 07:06 PM
Original message
Conyers, Leahy Introduce Bill To End Anti-Trust Exemption For Health Insurers

Conyers, Leahy Introduce Bill To End Anti-Trust Exemption For Health Insurers

by dday

John Conyers and some allies on the House Judiciary Committee have come up with a fabulous way to get the insurance industry in line - by threatening to remove their anti-trust exemption.

Many people don't know that the insurance industry, under the McCarran-Ferguson Act of 1945, has a broad anti-trust exemption that facilitates regional monopolies. The Act allows states to regulate the insurance business instead of the federal government, but also allows that, as long as the state regulates the industry, federal anti-trust laws would not apply.

As a result of this exemption, states have seen markets for health insurance where one or two companies predominate. In the state of Maine, Wellpoint controls 71% of the market. In North Dakota, Blue Cross controls 90%. Using the Herfindahl/Hirschman Index, a metric for market concentration, a 2007 study by the AMA found almost every health insurance market in the United States is highly concentrated.

<...>

The point is that the concentration of the health insurance market among regional monopolies leads to higher costs for consumers, almost by definition. What the legislation by Conyers (D-MI), Hank Johnson (D-GA) and Diana DeGette (D-CO) would do is end that anti-trust exemption for health insurers, allowing for enforcement in all of these highly concentrated markets. The Senate has companion legislation from Sen. Patrick Leahy:

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Xipe Totec Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 07:08 PM
Response to Original message
1. Yess!!!
:bounce:
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BlooInBloo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 07:08 PM
Response to Original message
2. Works for me.
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WCGreen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 07:14 PM
Response to Original message
3. Cool beans....
The infrastructure for administering health benefits has changed drastically since 1945 and so, the Anti-Trust exemption is no longer applicable.
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devans00 Donating Member (12 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 07:16 PM
Response to Original message
4. Enforce Anti-Trust for Every Industry
Put it on the list.

All anti-trust exemptions should be revoked. Monopolies and collusion should end too.
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calimary Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 08:01 PM
Response to Reply #4
7. For EVERY industry. EVERY one.
NO MONOPOLIES. Flies in the face of true get-out-there-and-compete capitalism that the bad guys all worship so desperately. You'd think they'd be all for this one.

Teddy Roosevelt. Anyone remember him? Any republi-CONS remember him? He was one of them. One of his most prominent nicknames was "The Trust-Buster." I even drew a political cartoon about it in sixth grade, I think it was. Really resonated with me even back then, before I understood much of this at all.

We need to BREAK the monopolies. The collusion. The anti-people, anti-consumer, anti-social, uber-greed structures. BREAK 'em into a brazillion pieces. Break them into as many pieces as there are individuals who've been outsourced, downsized, laid off, cut back, and otherwise screwed over by corporate consolidation/mergers/acquisitions.
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andym Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 07:23 PM
Response to Original message
5. common sense idea nt.
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bvar22 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 07:33 PM
Response to Original message
6. Applause from me.
Good move.

:thumbsup:

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Kingofalldems Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 08:41 PM
Response to Original message
8. I wonder what the blue dogs will do with this one
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TomCADem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 09:06 PM
Response to Reply #8
9. Competition Is Great! Competition Is Great! ...Oh wait.....
It will be a clash of the inconsistent talking points.
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depakid Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 09:38 PM
Response to Original message
10. Long past time
Now, let's get rid of the injustice of ERISA preemption:

http://www.law.com/jsp/article.jsp?id=1066080429988
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Vidar Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 10:38 PM
Response to Original message
11. Great move!
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ProSense Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-18-09 11:54 AM
Response to Original message
12. Needs more exposure. n/t
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varelse Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-18-09 06:30 PM
Response to Original message
13. I can't wait to see the arguments against this bill
This legislation would specifically prohibit price fixing, bid rigging, and market allocation in the health insurance industry


Bring it, "conservatives" and industry apologists. I can't wait to see the spin.

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eridani Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-25-09 02:32 AM
Response to Original message
14. This needs another kick--let's write our congresscritters in support

The McCarran-Ferguson Act of 1945 exempts health insurance companies from the antitrust regulations that apply to nearly every other industry, rules that protect consumers from anti-competitive business practices like price-fixing.

Passing health care reform with an effective public option is one key way to promote competition in the health insurance marketplace, but we must also eliminate this unjustified and unnecessary antitrust exemption currently enjoyed by insurance giants.

That's why I urge you to support the Health Insurance Industry Antitrust Enforcement Act, S. 1681 and H.R. 3596.

This legislation, which has been introduced by Sen. Patrick Leahy in the Senate and Rep. John Conyers in the House, will eliminate the outdated insurance industry antitrust exemption, and force health insurance companies to compete fairly -- like virtually every other business in America.

Thank you for supporting S. 1681 and H.R. 3596.
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