Friday, May 28, 2010

Repeal McCarran-Ferguson Antitrust Exemption for Insurance Companies

A message from the AGD. Contact your representatives.

Stop Unfair Treatment By Insurance Companies!
Repeal McCarran-Ferguson Antitrust Exemption for Insurance Companies

Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, announced on May 6, 2010, that he is offering an amendment to S. 3217, the Restoring American Financial Stability Act of 2010, language to overturn the McCarran-Ferguson Act as it applies to health insurers and subjecting them to federal antitrust regulation by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the Department of Justice (DOJ) for the first time.  Senator Leahy has long supported overturning McCarran-Ferguson, which was passed in 1945 and reserves as the domain of the States the regulation of the "business of insurance."  His amendment has the support of most Democrats in the Senate.

Earlier this year, on February 24, 2010, the House passed by a vote of 406-19 the Health Insurance Industry Fair Competition Act (H.R. 4626) to overturn McCarran-Ferguson as it applies health insurers. President Obama supports this provision and has promised to sign it into law if it can pass the Senate.

Impact on General Dentistry:  The McCarran-Ferguson Act has sheltered health insurers from federal antitrust laws and permitted them to engage in anticompetitive practices that harm patients and health care providers.  Overturning this law will level the playing field between general dentists and dental benefit plans by addressing price fixing, bid rigging, and market allocation.  The AGD strongly supports the Leahy amendment.

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