House votes to repeal health insurer antitrust exemption: 4 things to know

On Sept. 21, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill that would repeal antitrust exemptions for health insurers.

Four things to know: 

1. HR 1418, the Competitive Health Insurance Reform Act of 2020, would repeal parts of the McCarran-Ferguson Act that exempt insurance businesses from most federal regulation.

2. Rep. Peter DeFazio, D-Ore., introduced the bill, which he said aims to address health insurance price-gouging. "As long as this exemption is still on the books, health insurance companies legally can, and do, collude to drive up prices, limit competition, conspire to underpay doctors and hospitals, and overcharge consumers," he said Sept. 21.

3. Proponents of the McCarran-Ferguson Act say it sets up important state authorities. The National Association of Insurance Commissioners has said, "The McCarran‐Ferguson Act is as relevant today as it was when it was adopted. It contains the basic delegation of authority from Congress to the states with respect to the regulation and taxation of the business of insurance. It has been affirmed as the law of the land in the Gramm‐Leach‐Bliley Act and in the Dodd‐Frank Act."

4. To become law, the bill needs to pass in the Senate, where similar bills have stalled in the past. 

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