House Votes to Repeal Insurers’ Antitrust Exemption

The U.S. House of Representatives voted Feb. 24 in favor of repealing an antitrust provision that has exempted the health insurance industry from federal law for the past 65 years.

Democrats unanimously supported the bill (HR 4626). The final vote of 406-19 to repeal health insurers’ exemption from federal antitrust law brought about mixed feelings from all interested parties.

Kaiser Health News reports.


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10 Responses to “House Votes to Repeal Insurers’ Antitrust Exemption”

  1. Michelle Fata says:

    It’s about time!

  2. Maria Werley says:

    Rep. Nancy Pelosi could not have said it better “The playing field has changed and now it’s the people’s turn and the insurance companies will now play on our field.”

  3. Helen R. says:

    I never understood how the insurance companies gained such power. I’m glad to see someone was looking out for the American people. Sounds like a start toward better days.

  4. Dave Y. says:

    I work for an insurer & what people don’t understand is- who do you think is going to pay for “playing” on their field?? Nancy Pelosi doesn’t get it!!

  5. Sean Henry says:

    “who do you think is going to pay”? If you mean monetarily the customers they always pay taxes levied on companies? Fortunately that is not what it is about it is to create competition and hold insurance companies to the LAW that medical offices have to follow on different issues.

    Check out what Antitrust is about:
    “Section 1. 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….

    2. Every person who shall monopolize, or attempt to monopolize, or combine or conspire with any other person or persons, to monopolize any part of the trade or commerce among the several States, or with foreign nations, shall be deemed guilty of a felony, and, on conviction thereof, shall be punished by fine….”

    That reads they can be held responsible for what they do.

  6. Maureen H says:

    Maybe we should ask Angela Braly to pay for it. She certainly can afford it!

  7. R. Douglas Wise, CPC says:

    It is almost hilarious watching Congress chase its own tail. Nearly every one of them is a hypocrite. When will the CMS be subject to the same anti-trust and price-fixing rules? If Congress had to abide by the same rules and regulations they impose on the rest of us, most of them would be in jail, with Pelosi leading the chain gang.

    Regarding the substance of the legislation, I would first suggest that we recall Reed Pew’s letter in the Feb. 2010 Coding Edge. He researched 5 of the top health insurers in the nation and found an average profit margin of 5%. This implies that premiums are pretty darn low compared to what is being paid in benefits. Nonetheless, this legislation will have virtually no effect on premiums. Collusion between firms is only possible in the long-run when there are relatively few firms and even then it is often tenuous (e.g. OPEC). Collusion is hard to prove by its very nature. The only remedy against collusion among firms is more competition. This does nothing to increase competition for health insurance because the massive still-existent state and federal regulations and mandates remain in place, as well as the crowding-out effect of Medicare, SCHIP, and Medicaid.

    Now, I am in no way suggesting that insurers be exempt from anti-trust laws. However, I am suggesting that anti-trust laws are useless in producing equitable prices; only a competitive market will produce those. Government regulation has made health insurance a non-competitive market. I also suggest that this legislation is nothing more that political posturing from a group of people who are in the process of wrecking the American economy and need a scapegoat to hide behind. Don’t fall for it.

  8. Debra says:

    R. Douglas Wise, you live up to your last name. I agree whole-heartedly.

  9. Noelia Wilson says:

    I also read Reed Pew’s letter in the February Coding Edge. He names Aetna, Humana, Cigna, United HC and Wellpoint. The article states they are publicly traded and so i guess that means their financial records are open to the public. So my question is what method was used to determine these companies made on average less than 5% revenue for the last 3 years? Are the payer Ceo’s still collecting outrageous salaries or has that been corrected? i welcome answers to my questions and will do some research on my own.

  10. Noelia Wilson says:

    Now here is something i found in doing my google research and then i googled how much the current CEO for humana insurance has made, he got a hefty amount of money!

    what is profit

    revenue – expenses

    What can someone do to reduce profit margins to make a business look less profitable?

    whats a good way to lower profit margins?

    Pay huge bonuses, pay for extravagant outings as ‘expenses’ and keep operating costs high so you can say ‘hey look we are not profitable at all!’

    You can’t just take a cursory look at the balance sheet to really ascertain true profitability. Hence the dangers of trying to invest by doing things like looking at PE and picking the stocks w/ the lowest PEs.

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