A group of property/casualty trade associations are seeking to have amendments that remove antitrust exemptions for health insurers excised from the Affordable Health Care for America Act (H.R. 3692).
The group, which includes the American Insurance Association, the National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies, and the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America, wrote a letter to legislators objecting to “onerous provisions included in the bill that without due consideration go far beyond the issue of expanding health insurance coverage.”
Foremost among the provisions is Section 262, which would repeal the antitrust exemptions insurers currently enjoy under the McCarran-Ferguson Act. “The primary purpose of federal antitrust law is to encourage pro-competitive behavior and to promote the growth of private competitive markets,” the letter states. “It would be ironic if enactment of Section 262 resulted in more regulation, conflicting or inconsistent enforcement schemes, increased market entry barriers for new medical malpractice insurers because of reduced information sharing, and the erosion of the markets of last resort for medical professionals seeking liability coverage.”
The letter also expressed concern over Section 260, which would grant investigatory powers to the Federal Trade Commission. “This amendment would not even limit the FTC’s authority to activities that have been found by the courts to be a part of the “business of insurance,” but would instead vest the FTC with unfettered discretion to conduct investigations of virtually anything that falls within the term “insurance” in any line. This excessive and broad grant of authority to the FTC, particularly where that authority goes beyond health care, is unwarranted.”
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