Conyers Introduces Bill to Restore Competition to the Health Insurance Marketplace
(WASHINGTON)—Today, House Judiciary Committee Ranking Member John Conyers, Jr. (D-Mich.) introduced the “Health Insurance Industry Antitrust Enforcement Act of 2012,” which would level the playing field between health care professionals and insurance companies in the health care industry and improve the quality of patient care. The Act would eliminate the antitrust immunity provided under the McCarran-Ferguson Act for price fixing, bid rigging, and market allocation by health insurance issuers or medical malpractice insurers. The bill would also repeal the McCarran-Ferguson exemption for the business of health insurance and enable enforcement by the Federal Trade Commission.
“The McCarran-Ferguson Act allows the insurance industry and health care insurance providers to be shielded from antitrust laws,” said Conyers. “For this reason, I am introducing this bill to prevent health insurers and medical malpractice insurers from avoiding charges of price fixing and other collusive activity by hiding behind an antiquated antitrust exemption. This bill would uphold free-market protections by making insurance companies legally accountable for collusion schemes to fix prices, divide up markets and customers to restrict choice, and use monopoly power to sabotage anyone who seeks to offer meaningful competitive choice to consumers.
“This bill will end the mistake Congress made in 1945 when it added an antitrust exemption for insurance companies into the McCarran-Ferguson Act. The blanket antitrust exemption created by the 1945 bill has shielded health insurance companies from legal accountability for decades. Our nation’s antitrust laws exist to protect free-market competition and the bill I introduced today will restore competition to the health insurance marketplace. The House passed a similar bill on February 24, 2010, by a vote of 406 to 19. I look forward to working on a bipartisan basis to get this bill to the House floor.”