Washington, DC – Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva today joined other members of Congress in calling to fully repeal the anti-trust exemption currently granted to health insurers.
“Major League Baseball enjoys this kind of exemption, but public health is not a game,” Grijalva said. “When other American businesses have to abide by sensible rules against price-fixing and collusion, exempting health insurers make no sense.”
The call comes as both House and Senate leaders are considering whether to remove the exemption as part of the broader health care reform effort, a process Grijalva has said must also include a robust public option.
“Improving our nation’s health care system will take multiple approaches,” he said. “Just as providing a public option will drive down prices and save the government money, as the Congressional Budget Office has shown, eliminating the anti-trust exemption will give the government the power it needs to verify that insurers are treating their customers fairly. As we discuss how best to provide health coverage to the millions of uninsured and underinsured Americans, we should remember to protect and support those who already have coverage.”
The House Judiciary Committee has already voted to eliminate parts of the exemption, but Grijalva said those efforts do not go far enough to create competition and halt industry practices that harm consumers. He announced his support for the DeFazio amendment to the bill that would entirely repeal the exemption and clarify the Federal Trade Commission’s regulatory authority over the health insurance industry. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and Majority Leader Harry Reid are considering whether to include some version of the measure in the final bill sent to the upcoming House-Senate conference committee.