10.02.09

Leahy Schedules Hearing On Health, Medical Malpractice Insurance Antitrust Exemption

WASHINGTON – Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) Friday announced that the Committee will hold a hearing on October 14 on legislation to repeal a federal antitrust exemption for health insurance and medical malpractice insurance companies.

Leahy introduced the Health Insurance Antitrust Enforcement Act on September 17.  The legislation will repeal the federal antitrust exemption for health insurance and medical malpractice insurance companies who engage in flagrant antitrust violations such as price-fixing, bid rigging, and market allocations.  In 2007, Leahy introduced bipartisan legislation to fully repeal the 1945 McCarran-Ferguson Act, and subject all insurers to the same good-competition laws that apply to virtually every other company doing business in the United States.  The Judiciary Committee held a hearing on the Insurance Industry Competition Act in 2007 as well.

The Health Insurance Antitrust Enforcement Act is cosponsored by Judiciary Committee members Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Russ Feingold (D-Wis.), Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), Richard Durbin (D-Ill.), and Arlen Specter (D-Pa.).  The bill is also cosponsored by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), and Senators Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) and Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.).

The hearing, “Prohibiting Price Fixing and Other Anticompetitive Conduct in the Health Insurance Industry,” is scheduled for Wednesday, October 14, at 10:00 a.m.  A witness list is expected to be announced next week.  Testimony and a live hearing webcast will be available online.

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