U.S. Rep. Paul Gosar’s (R-Ariz.) amendment to H.R. 5, Restoring the Application of Antitrust Laws to Health Sector Insurers, passed on the House floor on March 22.
In early 2010, the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 4626, the Health Insurance Industry Fair Competition Act, which amended the McCarran-Ferguson Act to provide that 1) nothing in the act shall modify, impair or supersede the operation of any of the antitrust laws with respect to the business of health insurance; and 2) Federal Trade Commission Act prohibitions against using unfair methods of competition shall apply to the business of health insurance without regard to whether such business is carried on for profit. This legislation did not become law.
Since 1945, insurance companies have had a "limited" exemption from federal antitrust laws that apply to most other industries assured to them through an act of Congress. The McCarran-Ferguson Act provides that federal antitrust law applies to the "business of insurance" only to the extent that such business is not regulated by state law. The anti-competitive consequences of McCarran-Ferguson impact both consumers and small businesses that have to deal with insurers.
Gosar’s amendment to the McCarran-Ferguson Act has an additional limitation that no class action may be heard in a federal or state court on a claim against a health insurer for a violation of the antitrust laws.
The Automotive Service Association (ASA) says it supported H.R. 4626, and supports this latest Gosar amendment passed by the U.S. House of Representatives.
View the amendment in its entirety at ASA’s legislative website