S. 1681, “The Health Insurance Industry Antitrust Enforcement Act Of 2009”
Senator Leahy has introduced S. 1681, “The Health Insurance Industry Antitrust Enforcement Act Of 2009, but it has not progressed to a vote. Sen. Leahy’s bill removes anti-trust exemptions for health insurers granted by the McCarran-Ferguson Act of 1945, a loophole that has been seriously abused. Insurance industry lobbyists have seen to it that this loophole has not been closed in the current health legislation under consideration.
As columnist Bob Buckley has written: “Since health insurers and medical malpractice insurers are not subject to the anti-trust laws, they can get together and determine the prices that they charge for health insurance. The two key provisions of the Health Insurance Industry Antitrust Enforcement Act [S. 1681] will repeal the federal anti-trust exemption for health insurance and medical malpractice insurance companies for flagrant anti-trust violations, including price-fixing, bid rigging, and market allocations, and subject health insurers and medical malpractice insurers to the same good-competition laws that apply to virtually every other company doing business in the United States.
The insurance companies are prospering behind this exemption. The health insurance industry does not have to play by the same good-competition rules as other industries. According to Senator Leahy, anti-trust oversight of the insurance industry will provide consumers with confidence that insurance companies are operating in a competitive marketplace.”
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