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.
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“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.