U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy’s amendment to H.R. 3590, “The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act,” will not be included in the Senate’s version of health reform. Had it been accepted, the amendment would have repealed the McCarran-Ferguson Act for health insurers.
The U.S. House of Representatives’ health care reform bill H.R. 3962, the “Affordable Health Care for America Act,” includes language similar to Leahy’s amendment. The bill passed in November on the House floor in a vote of 220-215.
The Automotive Service Association (ASA) supports the repeal of the McCarran-Ferguson Act for all insurers.
Leahy’s “Health Insurance Industry Antitrust Enforcement Act” was co-sponsored by 18 senators and supported by Harry Reid, D-Nev., U.S. Senate majority leader. Senate co-sponsors include Sens. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash.; Richard Durbin, D-Ill.; Russ Feingold, D-Wis.; Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif.; Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y.; Arlen Specter, D-Pa.; Claire McCaskill, D-Mo.; Ron Wyden, D-Ore.; Al Franken, D-Minn.; Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I.; Ted Kaufman, D-Del.; John Rockefeller, D-W.V.; Roland Burris, D-Ill.; Michael Bennet, D-Colo.; Frank Lautenberg, D-N.J.; John Kerry, D-Mass.; and Joe Lieberman, I-Conn.
“I am disappointed the Health Insurance Industry Antitrust Enforcement Act will not be part of the Senate’s debate on health reform legislation,” said Leahy. “As we work to increase competition and consumer choice in health insurance, repealing the health insurance industry’s exemption from federal antitrust laws laws designed to protect consumers makes good sense.
“Support in the Senate for this repeal continues to grow. The majority leader [Reid] is a leading advocate for this repeal, and the House of Representatives included a similar measure in health reform legislation passed last month,” added Leahy. “I look forward to working to include a repeal of the industry’s antitrust exemption when the Senate and House conference to reconcile this health care legislation.”
U.S. House Repeals Health Insurer Antitrust Exemption
Taking the Hill, ASA’s legislative Web site