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House Backs Repeal of Health Insurers Antitrust Exemption

The U.S. House of Representatives overwhelmingly approved a measure Wednesday, February 24, that would repeal the McCarran-Ferguson Act’s limited antitrust exemption for health insurers.

February 25, 2010

The U.S. House of Representatives overwhelmingly approved a measure Wednesday, February 24, that would repeal the McCarran-Ferguson Act’s limited antitrust exemption for health insurers.

The Health Insurance Industry Fair Competition Act enjoyed the support of the White House. The bill passed on a 406-19 vote.

Proponents of the House measure held that it is necessary to promote competition in the health insurance industry and thus lower costs. Opponents, which include health and property/casualty insurers, argued that it would have the opposite effect.

“We’re concerned that House members are voting to repeal the exemption when they don’t seem to understand what it does, and how it affects consumers,” Jimi Grande, senior vice president in the Washington office of the National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies, said in a statement shortly before the House vote. “While this bill addresses only health insurance, it sets a dangerous precedent for the next time a member of Congress decides they want to score points by punishing the insurance industry.”

 

Filed by Mark A. Hofmann of Business Insurance, a sister publication of Workforce Management. To comment, e-mail editors@workforce.com.

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