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Leahy Offers Bill To Strip Antitrust Exemption For Insurance Cos

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The Straight Story Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 10:56 AM
Original message
Leahy Offers Bill To Strip Antitrust Exemption For Insurance Cos
WASHINGTON (Dow Jones)--The chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee introduced legislation Thursday that would strip a federal antitrust exemption for health insurance and medical malpractice insurance companies.

Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., said his bill would repeal an antitrust exemption for insurance companies that has been in place since 1945.

Leahy's legislation would strip the exemption for egregious violations, such as price fixing, bid rigging and market allocation.

The bill's text indicates that it would not affect states' ability to regulate the business of insurance.

"There are many proposals to bring competition to health insurance providers," Leahy said in a statement. "While we are debating these solutions, we should not lose sight of the fact that the health insurance industry currently does not have to play by the same, good-competition rules as other industries. That is wrong, and this legislation corrects it."

Leahy has introduced a version of the bill in previous sessions of Congress.

http://online.wsj.com/article/BT-CO-20090917-709550.htm...
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WeDidIt Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 10:58 AM
Response to Original message
1. Now we get to see the TRUE Insurance Company whores in Congress
ANY member of Congress who opposes this legislation is nothing more than a whore for the insurance industry.

Plain and simple.
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Posteritatis Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 01:36 PM
Response to Reply #1
15. He's introduced it before; just need to look at whoever opposed it then (nt)
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laughingliberal Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 10:59 AM
Response to Original message
2. This one's a winner. Now prepare for the wailing of the corporatists n/t
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Autumn Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 11:02 AM
Response to Original message
3. #5 off you go
:kick:
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andym Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 11:07 AM
Response to Original message
4. This is just common sense
After all, insurance companies promote the idea of competition. Stripping anti-trust protection is just the first step in allowing real competition and ensuring more responsible conduct.
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Ruby the Liberal Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 11:08 AM
Response to Original message
5. Its about time someone brought up McCarran-Ferguson
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berni_mccoy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 11:09 AM
Response to Original message
6. This is exactly how we need to treat these people: WITH A HEAVY HAND. We need more of this.
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Posteritatis Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 01:36 PM
Response to Reply #6
16. I could get behind an iron fist in a lead glove on this (nt)
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havocmom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 11:10 AM
Response to Original message
7. Send that Senator a campaing contribution!
Repeat action every time you can afford it.
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cali Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 01:45 PM
Response to Reply #7
17. honestly, don't bother. just send him a thanks
and put your money into candidates that need the help. Leahy doesn't and he'll be sure to be re-elected.
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havocmom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-18-09 09:03 AM
Response to Reply #17
50. Dr. Dean seems to think it's a good idea. He sent out email for Leahy
Much as I generally appreciate your logic, I will take the recommendation of the good doctor on this one ;)
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merh Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 11:10 AM
Response to Original message
8. That's a start - the anti-trust exemption needs to be stripped from
all insurance companies.

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Jackpine Radical Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 11:15 AM
Response to Original message
9. Which way ya think Baucus will go on it?
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pleah Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 11:46 AM
Response to Original message
10. That'll help.
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shraby Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 11:52 AM
Response to Original message
11. This will give the insurance companies another place
to spend their money...fighting on two fronts..the health care bill and now the anti-trust bill. Does this mean more people will lose their coverage when they need it because the insurance companies have "more overhead" now?
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Jeep789 Donating Member (935 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-18-09 06:38 AM
Response to Reply #11
44. Yep, and we have the banks fighting the Student Loan bill
This is exactly how we fight them by giving them so much to fight that they don't know which to fight first. And the talking heads will scream themselves to death while there pathetic listeners heads spin.

Remember how they inundated us with so much ridiculous legislation that we barely knew which way to turn... well, pay back time.
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4_TN_TITANS Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-18-09 06:59 AM
Response to Reply #11
47. Good point - divide their resources & conquer. n/t
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bvar22 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 01:32 PM
Response to Original message
12. I like this approach.
!
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dionysus Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 01:32 PM
Response to Original message
13. that's away to cut em off at the knees!
:thumbsup:
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Posteritatis Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 01:34 PM
Response to Original message
14. Wait, what? They were explicitly exempt from antitrust laws? (nt)
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dionysus Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 02:46 PM
Response to Reply #14
18. i never knew that either... what i dumb idea that turned out to be...
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Canuckistanian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 08:13 PM
Response to Reply #14
20. Only TWO industries are exempt from antitrust laws
Insurance companies and......

Major League Baseball.

I heard it on Thom Hartmann's show.
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wroberts189 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 10:55 PM
Response to Reply #20
25. Good old Thom.. Man that guy is good to have on our side. nt
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avaistheone1 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-18-09 12:28 AM
Response to Reply #25
32. Thom is great genius.
I love his show. I have learned so much from that man.
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Jeep789 Donating Member (935 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-18-09 06:40 AM
Response to Reply #32
45. Agreed! nt
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dmr Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 11:50 PM
Response to Reply #20
27. Do you or anyone here know why? Could it be because prior to 30 years or so ago
most hospitals were non-profit community, Catholic or county hospitals?

Then all of sudden, for-profit became the norm?

Or could it also stem from the Nixon administration who thought managed care was such a good idea? (I forget the insurance company's name he was speaking with back then.)
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merh Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-18-09 12:22 AM
Response to Reply #27
31. All insurance companies - all forms of insurance - enjoy the anti-trust exemption
After Katrina, the insurance companies all got together and agreed to deny all claims if surge/rising waters were involved. It was a blanket denial, the policy holders had to fight to get their claims paid. (The first bailout of the Bush admin was the Katrina grant program that took the heat off the insurance companies.)

The only legislation I support that my blue dog dem congress critter has been trying to get passed since Katrina is the all perils insurance legislation. It would repeal the anti-trust exemption for all insurance.

The McCarran-Ferguson Act, 15 U.S.C. 1011, is a United States federal law that allows state law to regulate the business of insurance without federal government interference. The McCarran-Ferguson Act was passed by Congress in 1945 after the Supreme Court ruled in United States v. South-Eastern Underwriters Association that insurance could be regulated by the federal government via the Commerce Clause (the overturned case stated that the federal government had this power), or, in other words, that insurance was interstate commerce.

The Act also provides that federal anti-trust laws will not apply to the "business of insurance" as long as the state regulates in that area, but federal anti-trust laws will apply in cases of boycott, coercion, and intimidation.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/McCarran-Ferguson_Act
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imdjh Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-18-09 12:37 AM
Response to Reply #31
36. My homeowners doesn't cover flood.
I would have to buy a separate policy, national flood insurance, to cover rising water. It's been that way since national flood insurance got started, coincidentally about the time all this major waterfront development started.

I'm not aware of any hurricane policies which cover flood.
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merh Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-18-09 01:05 AM
Response to Reply #36
37. Not all houses were destroyed by the surge - they were destroyed by
the winds or tornadoes before the surge but that didn't matter. And it doesn't matter that we had "hurricane policies" - they were no different from the regular home owners, just with higher deductibles.

For many, the flood insurance claims were denied because the damage was attributed to the winds and their homeowners claim was denied because the damage was attributed to surge. It was a horrible mess and a cruel game of odds that the insurance companies played.

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dmr Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-18-09 01:28 AM
Response to Reply #31
38. Thank you. I guess I didn't understand the law's intent
Thanks for the explanation and the link. Usually I Google before I post, & should've Googled anti-trust.

Thanks again!

:hi: :)
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merh Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-18-09 02:55 AM
Response to Reply #38
43. You are welcome
Because the insurance companies don't have to worry about anti-trust laws they often conspire to screw the policy holders so they realize the profits.

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Canuckistanian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-18-09 06:45 AM
Response to Reply #27
46. It was Kaiser Permanente n/t
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zoff Donating Member (302 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-18-09 02:32 AM
Response to Reply #20
41. Strip them of the exemption.
They are nowhere near as entertaining as MLB.
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wroberts189 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 10:53 PM
Response to Reply #14
24. Yeah I was a bit shocked as well when I found this out. It's true and outrageous. nt
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nadinbrzezinski Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-18-09 12:33 AM
Response to Reply #14
35. The other institution that is... well are the boys of Summer
:-)
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blueworld Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 02:46 PM
Response to Original message
19. Ah, attacking on multiple fronts. Luv Ya, Leahy! n/t
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blogslut Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 08:20 PM
Response to Original message
21. I love that man
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merh Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 10:10 PM
Response to Original message
22. K&R
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wroberts189 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 10:52 PM
Response to Original message
23. sounds great, lets do it. nt
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wroberts189 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 10:56 PM
Response to Original message
26. btw knr +55
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bemildred Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 11:51 PM
Response to Original message
28. That works for me. nt
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earcandle Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-18-09 12:03 AM
Response to Original message
29. That is what I call regulation! Go get them! It is only fair. And will clean up the country
and the world. 
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Blackhatjack Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-18-09 12:08 AM
Response to Original message
30. LONG OVERDUE ... and a welcome action from a Democratic Congress...n/t
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anonymous171 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-18-09 12:30 AM
Response to Original message
33. I hope he succeeds. nt
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nadinbrzezinski Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-18-09 12:32 AM
Response to Original message
34. We want a german system, this is a no brainer
:-)

Good for you Senator
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naaman fletcher Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-18-09 01:34 AM
Response to Original message
39. WTF? What possible reason is there for an exemption?
How was this ever justified?
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Lerkfish Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-18-09 07:23 AM
Response to Reply #39
48. money. next question
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StreetKnowledge Donating Member (921 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-18-09 02:01 AM
Response to Original message
40. Good idea, Patrick.
Long past time. There should be NO corporate antitrust exceptions, at all.
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greengestalt Donating Member (126 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-18-09 02:37 AM
Response to Original message
42. How 'bout mandatory insurance laws?
In my experience, when the slithering snakes got those in place, the price of insurance doubled overnight and the service went rock bottom.


And, there are still tons of "uninsured drivers" it's just a "FINE" opportunity to get more money for the police and for the insurance company to weedle out of paying, since they usually have the "Other driver has no insurance" clause from 25% to 100% of the insurance bill extra.


IMHO, the best "Insurance" would be the ability to drive a car that says "Beware! No insurance" on a "There, I fixed it" style sign hanging from the front and back ends. (without da Fuzz messin with you.)


Seriously, I bet we could get a lot of people to sign petitions to put a "Liberation of Choice" law on local ballots...
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Piewhacket Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-18-09 08:25 AM
Response to Original message
49. The Sherman Antitrust Act 15 USC 1-7
The core: Prohibition against conspiracies in restraint of trade.
Exempt from Law: Insurance, Baseball


1. Trusts, etc., in restraint of trade illegal; penalty
Every contract, combination in the form of trust or otherwise, or conspiracy, in restraint of trade or commerce among the several States, or with foreign nations, is declared to be illegal. Every person who shall make any contract or engage in any combination or conspiracy hereby declared to be illegal shall be deemed guilty of a felony, and, on conviction thereof, shall be punished by fine not exceeding $100,000,000 if a corporation, or, if any other person, $1,000,000, or by imprisonment not exceeding 10 years, or by both said punishments, in the discretion of the court. 15 USC 1




At Wikipedia
"The Sherman Antitrust Act (Sherman Act,<1> July 2, 1890, ch. 647, 26 Stat. 209, 15 U.S.C. 17) requires the United States Federal government to investigate and pursue trusts, companies and organizations suspected of violating the Act. It was the first Federal statute to limit cartels and monopolies, and today still forms the basis for most antitrust litigation by the United States federal government."
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sherman_Antitrust_Act

Executive Summary Of The Antitrust Laws
By Richard M. Steuer of Mayer Brown, LLP
http://library.findlaw.com/1999/Jan/1/241454.html
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alfredo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-18-09 09:58 AM
Response to Original message
51. YES! You want to lower malpractice insurance costs? make them subject
to anti trust laws.
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