With the fate of the larger health care bill in question, legislators are pressing ahead with stand-alone legislation that would remove anti-trust protections for health and medical liability insurers.

Reps. Betsy Markey (D — Colo.) and Congressman Tom Perriello (D – Va.) announced that they will introduce legislation this week that will repeal sections of the McCarran–Ferguson Act.

“Support for removing this unfair exemption cuts across party lines, and is a major piece of common ground that I’ve been working toward in our country’s health care debate,” Markey said in a statement. “This is about bringing sorely-needed competition back into an industry that has for too long wielded monopoly control over hard-working American families.”

Perriello also had choice words for insurers, accusing the industry of price gouging. “It’s time to end the monopoly protections that Washington has protected for decades as prices skyrocketed. It’s time for a simple, clean bill - no carve-outs or special deals - that forces insurance companies to compete. It’s time to put patients and cost relief first. Americans deserve to know who stands with them against the price gouging of middle-class and working-class folks. Today, we do.”

Although the repeal is aimed at health and medical liability insurers, a wide swath of the insurance industry has expressed reservations. In a January letter to congressional leaders, the American Academy of Actuaries claimed that repeal legislation would endanger information sharing efforts between insurers.

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