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Repeal of insurance antitrust exemption included in House health care reform proposal

Washington—Repeal of the health insurance industry's antitrust exemption, an ADA  member-driven "ask," won U.S. House of Representatives approval Nov. 7 in health care reform legislation awaiting Senate action.

"This provision restores application of federal antitrust laws to the business of health insurance and the business of medical malpractice insurance," said an Association policy analysis of the House-passed bill, H.R. 3962.

"The ADA has actively lobbied in support of an amendment of the health care reform legislation to repeal the McCarran-Ferguson federal antitrust exemption for the 'business of insurance' because it would boost competition in the health care marketplace."

The Nov. 9 analysis measures various provisions of H.R. 3962 by ADA policy set by the Association's House of Delegates (ADA News Today Oct. 26, House of Delegates expands ADA health care reform policy). The 2009 ADA policy expansion calls for such "insurance reforms" as recently advocated by ADA members and long-supported by the Association (ADA News Today Oct. 16, Grassroots activism spurs insurance exemption legislation).

The Association thanked Rep. Bart Stupak (D-Mich.) for language in the House-passed bill "recognizing the vital role dentists can play in our nation's disaster response framework." H.R. 3962 included Rep. Stupak's proposed Dental Emergency Responder Act.

While the ADA continues to lobby health care reform legislation, the Association does not support any of the bills currently under consideration.

The Senate must now consider health care reform legislation. Whatever legislation emerges from the Senate is likely to differ from the House-passed bill, and a joint House-Senate conference committee would be appointed to reconcile the differences.