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ADA urges Congress to repeal McCarran-Ferguson

February 16, 2017

By Jennifer Garvin

Washington — The Association submitted written testimony to the House Judiciary Subcommittee's Feb. 16 hearing on Regulatory Reform, Commercial and Antitrust Law, urging legislators to support H.R. 372, the Competitive Health Insurance Reform Act of 2017.

H.R. 372 calls for the repeal of the McCarran-Ferguson Act, which the ADA believes gives health insurance companies an unfair competitive advantage.

"The current debate regarding health care reform requires serious consideration of any and all means to introduce competition and make health insurance affordable for all Americans," wrote the Association in its testimony. "An important step toward achieving these objectives is eliminating the outdated federal antitrust exemption that grants health insurers special status, and permits them to ignore the competitive rules that apply to every other U.S. business."

The Association said it "strongly supports" H.R. 372, introduced Jan. 10 by Rep. Paul Gosar, R-Ariz., which would authorize the Federal Trade Commission and the Justice Department to "enforce the federal antitrust laws against health insurance companies engaged in anticompetitive conduct" and would not interfere with the states' "ability to enforce their own regulations, antitrust statutes and consumer protection laws."

During his testimony on Feb. 16, Rep. Gosar said, "Imagine what could exist when we put the patient first and demand that health insurance companies compete for their business. This market should be patient-centric, provide a variety of affordable, quality options, and empower patient involvement and accountability.

"The passage of the Competitive Health Insurance Reform Act into law is an important first step towards increasing competition in health insurance markets, and will assist with setting the foundation for real, competitive, and patient-centered health care reform," he concluded. Rep. Gosar is a dentist and ADA member.

For information on all ADA advocacy efforts, visit ADA.org/Advocacy.