WASHINGTON BUREAU — A measure that would repeal the McCarran-Ferguson Act antitrust exemption for health and medical malpractice insurers will be offered as an amendment to H.R. 3590, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act bill.
Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., announced the development today, but it was not clear at press time when a vote on the amendment might be held.
Leahy and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., introduced an antitrust exemption repeal bill, S. 1681, in September. S. 1681 has 17 co-sponsors. The co-sponsor list includes 16 Democrats and Sen. Joe Lieberman, Independent-Conn.
“This amendment will prohibit the most egregious anticompetitive conduct – price fixing, bid rigging and market allocations – conduct that harms consumers, raises health care costs, and for which there is no justification,” Leahy says.
“Subjecting health and medical malpractice insurance providers to the antitrust laws will enable customers to feel confident that the price they are being quoted is the product of a fair marketplace,” Leahy says.
The proposed Senate amendment appears to provide for a simple repeal of the antitrust exemption.