Senate leaders said they would push a measure to strip the health insurance industry of its antitrust protections as part of a broader health overhaul effort. “It's a relic of an earlier time and in today's economy, it's obsolete,” said Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.).
Senate leaders eye insurers' antitrust exemption
The 1940s-era provision has allowed insurers to share healthcare information as a means to set prices. The exemption, in part, has led to a handful of national companies that have a dominant market presence, Schumer said. In 40 states, more than half of the market is controlled by two companies, according to a study by the liberal-leaning Center for American Progress.
Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) said he would introduce an amendment to remove the protection when the Senate advances its health reform package to the floor. “We all pay the cost for this,” Leahy said. “Patients pay the cost. Doctors pay the cost.” In a letter sent to Leahy earlier this month, America's Health Insurance Plans said that the industry is already one of the most-regulated ones.
Meantime, a House panel voted to 20-9 to end the exemption.
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