Both houses of Congress have voted to repeal an anti-trust exemption in the McCarran-Ferguson Act of 1945, which protects payers from federal competition laws. The Competitive Health Insurance Reform Act of 2020 received bipartisan support in both the House and the Senate.
- No bill to repeal these exemptions has ever passed both houses of Congress. In 2019, Gosar put forward the amendment which passed by a vote of 416 to seven in the House but floundered in the Senate, according to a press release from his office.
- Senator Daines shared a frustrated statement, “While ordinary Americans are suffering through an unprecedented, deadly pandemic, multi-billion dollar health insurance companies are boasting record-high profits.”
- Payers were not receptive to the Competitive Health Insurance Reform Act of 2020. “Every American deserves access to affordable coverage that provides them with access to high-quality health care,” Matt Eyles, president and chief executive officer of America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP), said in a statement.
- “The McCarran-Ferguson Act recognized that all health care is local and that states should be able to govern their own health insurance markets,” Eyles said. “At no time has that been more evident than during the COVID-19 crisis. States have always exercised great authority in ensuring fair and competitive markets that delivered consumer choice.”
- There certainly is precedent for Eyles’s expectations of costly litigation related to insurers’ anti-trust lawsuits. Only, a little over a month prior to this statement, Blue Cross Blue Shield Association finally ended eight-year-long anti-trust litigation in a $2.67 billion settlement. “Removal of the McCarran-Ferguson exemptions ignores those cost drivers while raising costs and will only result in coverage being less affordable,” Eyles concluded.