Congressman Austin Scott Votes to Bring Health Insurers Back Under Federal Anti-Trust Laws
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Congressman Austin Scott (GA-08) today released the following statement upon a bipartisan House majority passing H.R. 372, the Competitive Health Insurance Reform Act of 2017, which would reapply federal antitrust laws to certain health insurers to protect competition and consumers. The bipartisan legislation passed the House by a vote of 416 to 7.
“Today is a historic day, as the House has voted with an overwhelming bipartisan majority to bring health insurers back under the umbrella of our federal antitrust laws,” said Rep. Austin Scott. “Removing these special antitrust exemptions will inject much-needed competition into the marketplace, resulting in more choices for consumers and greater certainty for the marketplace as a whole.”
Rep. Austin Scott continued: “This is a good bill. It is a commonsense bill, and I am very proud to have fought for this provision which is a big step toward fulfilling our promise to create a marketplace that works for all Americans.”
In 1945, Congress passed the McCarran-Ferguson Act, which exempted the “business of insurance” from compliance with federal antitrust laws. When passed, McCarran-Ferguson was intended to assist newly established insurance companies in setting sustainable premiums by permitting data sharing between insurance companies. These exemptions are no longer necessary and cause unfair advantages to health insurers, resulting in less competition between providers and few choices for consumers.
Today’s legislation would bring health care insurers back under the federal antitrust laws, increasing competition, providing better coverage, and saving consumers money in the health insurance marketplace.
In 2010, provisions to reapply federal antitrust laws to the industry passed the House 406-19, but was not included in the Affordable Care Act.
Yesterday, Rep. Austin Scott spoke on the House Floor in favor of the legislation. Click here to watch.