In-Depth: Sponsoring Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ) blasted the health insurance industry
for becoming “one of the least transparent and most anti-competitive
industries in the United States.” He also added that “hospitals, doctors and
patients alike all benefit when health insurers compete to provide
Rep. Gosar has introduced similar versions of this bill in recent years, with a version stalling in a House committee in 2011 during the 112th Congress, and another in 2013 during the 113th Congress.
Of the 20 cosponsors in the House that this bill has, two are Democrats.
Of Note: The Congressional Budget Office
analyzed related legislation in 2009, and found that any effect on
health care premiums would be small. Meanwhile, the likelihood of an increase
or decrease in premiums was difficult to determine.
Kaiser Health News
published an article in 2010, estimating that eliminating the antitrust law exemption could increase the number of lawsuits. However, they found that because health insurers may need to change the way they
do business, consumers would benefit.
For its part, the primary regulator of the health insurance industry — the Federal Trade Commission
— hasn’t directly weighed in on the existing antitrust exemption. But, it has stated that:
“Competition in health care markets benefits consumers
because it helps contain costs, improve quality, and encourage
Summary by Eric Revell
(Photo Credit: Flickr user CarbonNYC)