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Rep. Gosar seeks antitrust exemption repeal

Washington—The Association urged support for legislation offered by dentist/Rep. Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.) to repeal the 67-year exemption from antitrust laws for “the business of health insurance.”

The Rules Committee of the U.S. House of Representatives March 20 considered Rep. Gosar’s and other bipartisan repeal amendments to an ADA-supported medical liability reform bill that could reach the House floor for a vote within the week, the Help Efficient, Accessible, Low-cost, Timely Healthcare Act. The Congressional Budget Office has determined that the medical liability reform provisions of the HEALTH Act, H.R. 5, would reduce federal spending, increase revenues and reduce future deficits.

The Association has advocated repeal of the 1945 McCarran-Ferguson Act antitrust exemption for the insurance industry for more than 20 years. Dr. Gosar championed repeal while serving as vice chair of ADA’s Council on Government Affairs, class of 2009. Rep. Gosar last year as a freshman member of Congress introduced a broader version of the legislation offered this year as an amendment to the tort reform bill.

Several other McCarran-Ferguson repeal amendments were also offered by bipartisan members of Congress as the Rules Committee considered rules for H.R. 5, which would impose limits on medical malpractice litigation in state and federal courts by capping awards and attorney fees, modifying the statute of limitations and eliminating joint and several liability.

In an “action alert” to the ADPAC (American Dental Political Action Committee) Board, ADA Council on Government Affairs members and dental leaders in Rules Committee member states, the Association urged support for Rep. Gosar’s proposed amendment. “Please act immediately to support passage of legislation to eliminate the federal antitrust exemption given to health insurance plans (an amendment to the McCarran-Ferguson Act)!” said the alert from Dr. William Calnon, ADA president. “Ask your member of Congress to support the Rep. Gosar amendment to H.R. 5.” The alert offered a “click here” link to send a message of support.