Wednesday, March 22, 2017

House overwhelmingly passes Competitive Health Insurance Reform Act, 416-7

Some good news out of Washington for a change!  MJ 
 
 
March 22, 2017
By Jennifer Garvin
Washington — The House of Representatives on March 22 voted 416-7 in favor of repealing the McCarran-Ferguson antitrust exemption for health insurance companies by passing H.R. 372, the Competitive Health Insurance Reform Act of 2017.

The ADA has advocated for repeal of the 1945 McCarran-Ferguson Act antitrust exemption for the insurance industry for more than 20 years. The Association strongly supported H.R. 372, which was introduced Jan. 10 by Rep. Paul Gosar, R-Ariz., and would authorize the Federal Trade Commission and the Justice Department to "enforce the federal antitrust laws against health insurance companies engaged in anticompetitive conduct."

"Today, a bipartisan majority in the House joined me in taking a historic step to begin rebuilding America's health care market," said Rep. Gosar, a dentist and ADA member. "As a dentist for over 25 years, I know first-hand that restoring the application of federal antitrust laws to the business of health insurance is the key to unlocking greater competition in the marketplace. Making health insurance companies compete in a free-market will result in huge benefits for hospitals, doctors and most importantly, patients."

"Free market competition leads to lower costs, greater innovation and variety in the insurance marketplace," said Dr. Gary Roberts, ADA president. "I have long appreciated Paul Gosar for his steadfast commitment to patient advocacy, and I thank him for his work on reforming the McCarran-Ferguson Act. Further, I want to thank every one of the 416 members of Congress who voted for H.R. 372 today."

This victory in the House caps a flurry of advocacy efforts by the ADA in 2017. On Feb. 16, the Association submitted written testimony to a House subcommittee hearing on Regulatory Reform, Commercial and Antitrust Law, asking for support of the bill. That was followed by the Organized Dentistry Coalition's Feb. 27 letter to the House Judiciary Committee, which unanimously voted in favor of H.R. 372.

"History has always shown us that when we put the patient first and demand that health insurance companies compete for their business, premiums go down while quality improves," Rep. Gosar said. "I'm proud to have led this effort in the House and call on Senate leaders to take up this bipartisan legislation in a timely matter."

To keep track on all the Association's insurance reform activities, visit ADA.org/McF.

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