House Judiciary Committee Approves Rep. Gosar’s Competitive Health Insurance Reform Act

Feb 28, 2017 Issues: Healthcare

For Immediate Release

Date: February 28, 2017

Contact: Steven D. Smith

Steven.Smith@mail.house.gov

 

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Today, U.S. Congressman Paul A. Gosar, D.D.S. (AZ-04) released the following statement after the House Judiciary Committee successfully passed his legislation, H.R. 372, the Competitive Health Insurance Reform Act during a Markup Hearing:

“I’m extremely pleased to see the House Judiciary Committee support my efforts in taking the essential first step to broader healthcare reform. Popular cost-reducing reform priorities–such as selling insurance across state lines and developing diverse consumer-driven plans–are predicated on the robust competitive markets this bill will ensure. As a healthcare provider for more than 25 years, I understand first-hand the importance of a competitive and dynamic health insurance market. Patients, doctors, and hospitals alike benefit when health insurers compete to provide a variety quality coverage options. I look forward to continue working with House leaders to ensure this bill is part of patient-centered, free market healthcare reforms.”

Following the House Judiciary Committee’s approval of H.R. 372, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) and Regulatory Reform, Commercial and Antitrust Law Subcommittee Chairman Tom Marino (R-PA) issued a joint statement:

“Obamacare is collapsing, and hardworking Americans are the ones who are suffering because of this poorly designed law. The American people are asking Congress to take action to stop the rising costs of healthcare in the wake of Obamacare’s failure, and today’s action by the House Judiciary Committee is one of the first steps to fixing the healthcare marketplace after the disasters of the previous administration. Repealing the McCarran-Ferguson antitrust exemption for the business of health insurance will assist in Congress’s larger goal of restoring competition to the healthcare industry and reversing the trend of rising payments and market consolidation. However, this repeal must be coupled with larger changes to the existing regulatory scheme.”

The Chairman’s full statement from today’s Committee Markup can be found HERE.

Background:

The full text of the Competitive Health Insurance Reform Act of 2017 as amended and passed by the House Judiciary Committee can be found HERE

The Congressman’s legislation is endorsed by: American Dental Association and 10+ National Oral Health Organizations, American Chiropractic Association, American Community Pharmacy Association, and American Optometric Association.

The Competitive Health Insurance Reform Act of 2017 amends a section of the McCarran-Ferguson Act of 1945, which exempted the insurance industry from the Sherman Act and the Clayton Act – acts that have the purpose of ensuring fair competition.  This broad exemption was intended to assist newly established insurance companies set sustainable premiums by permitting data sharing between insurance companies. These antiquated exemptions are no longer necessary. There is no reason in law, policy, or logic for the insurance industry to have special exemptions that are different from all other businesses in the United States.

Repeal of the specific sections of the McCarran-Ferguson Act which apply to health insurance has bipartisan support. A form of this legislation passed the Democratic-controlled House during the 111th Congress 406 - 19 (Roll no. 64) and passed the Republican-led House in the 112th Congress by a voice vote.

This anti-trust reform provision is included in the Republican Study Committee’s healthcare reform bill and discussed in the Speaker’s “A Better Way” white paper.

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