10.13.09

Reid, Varney To Testify At Senate Judiciary Committee Hearing On Health, Medical Malpractice Insurance Antitrust Exemption

WASHINGTON – Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) announced Tuesday that the Senate Majority Leader and the top antitrust official at the Department of Justice will testify at a hearing Wednesday that will focus on legislation to repeal a federal antitrust exemption for health insurance and medical malpractice insurance companies.

Leahy announced that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Assistant Attorney General Christine Varney, who heads the Antitrust Division at the Justice Department, will testify at the hearing on “Prohibiting Price Fixing and Other Anticompetitive Conduct in the Health Insurance Industry.”

Leahy introduced the Health Insurance Antitrust Enforcement Act on September 17, and Reid is a cosponsor of the legislation.  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 hearing will be webcast live online.

# # # # #

Press Contact

David Carle: 202-224-3693