Competitive Health Insurance Reform Act passes House

Bill repeals McCarran-Ferguson antitrust exemption for health insurance companies

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Washington — The U.S. House of Representatives on Sept. 21 voted to repeal the McCarran-Ferguson antitrust exemption for health insurance companies by passing HR 1418, the Competitive Health Insurance Reform Act.

The House passed the bill by a voice vote which means no recorded vote was taken. The Association strongly supported the bipartisan legislation, which was led by Reps. Peter DeFazio, D-Ore., and Paul Gosar, R-Ariz.

“The ADA is thrilled that the House of Representatives has voted in favor of the Competitive Health Insurance Reform Act,” said ADA President Chad P. Gehani. “This bill is necessary to allow federal enforcement of a full range of federal antitrust laws against insurance companies engaged in anti-competitive behavior. This bill is all about fairness to the public we serve. It will help level the playing field for patients, providers and insurance companies in a fair and transparent marketplace.”

The ADA also sent a grassroots email to dentists enrolled in the ADA’s Legislative Action Center and urged them to ask their representatives to support the bill.

“We want to thank you for your passionate advocacy on this issue,” the alert said. “A vote in the House on this bill would not have been possible without the grassroots advocacy efforts of ADA members. When health insurance companies are permitted to disregard antitrust principles, prices for patients can go up, coverage can go down, and reimbursement rates don’t always keep up with costs. During these unprecedented times, it is more important than ever that health insurers act transparently and fairly.”

The bill will next need to be considered by the Senate before it can become law.

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