Members of the U.S. House today passed two major health insurance bills that are not directly related to the Affordable Care Act.
House members voted 416 to 7 for H.R. 372, the Competitive Health Insurance Reform Act of 2017 bill. H.R. 372 purports to repeal the McCarran-Ferguson Act antitrust exemption for health insurers.
All Republicans voted for the bill, and all but seven of the Democrats who voted supported it.
House members voted 236 to 175 to pass H.R. 1101, the Small Business Health Fairness Act bill. H.R. 1101 would let a multi-state association health plan sell coverage outside its state of domicile, even if the other states objected. The regulators in the state of domicile would regulate the plan.
All Republicans who voted on H.R. 1101 backed that bill. All but four of the 179 Democrats who voted opposed that bill.
H.R. 1101, the association health plan bill, was introduced by Rep. Sam Johnson, R-Texas, who has been working on the issue for years. The House passed similar bills in 2003, 2004 and 2005, but the bills always died in the Senate.
Rep. Robert Scott, D-Va., spoke today against H.R. 1101 on the House floor.
He said he had received letters opposing the bill from groups such as the American Cancer Society, the American Diabetes Association and the National Association of Insurance Commissioners.
The NAIC wrote in its letter that H.R. 1101 would eliminate states’ ability to enforcement their consumer protection and solvency rules, Scott said.
The NAIC wrote that “‘these protections are the very core of the state regulatory system that has served Americans for 150 years,’” Scott said, quoting the NAIC letter.
Rep. Virginia Foxx, R-N.C., chairman of the House Education and the Workforce Committee, rose to speak in favor of the bill. She said the current rules, which make it easy for large employers to get around state insurance regulations, by sponsoring self-insured health plans under Employee Retirement Income Security Act rules, are unfair to employers that are too small to self-insure.