(H/T Mr CLS:) Our readers may recall that fractious House Democratic caucus we covered around one month ago. There were 4 points made by the Congressman to the slabbed, and it appears Madam Speaker is listening to the good advice she was given. Those 4 points:
- repeal the insurance antitrust exemption
- repeal the “Tauzin deal” that prohibits Medicare from negotiating prices with drug companies
- require generic drugs in Medicare unless the doctor certifies that a brand name drug is medically necessary
- require insurance plans to offer parents the option to cover their children up to age 27
None of these items will cost taxpayers a dime and in fact would save money. Nowdy and I founded Slabbed 2 years and 2 months ago based upon a few simple principles which is well illustrated by the following Margaret Mead quote:
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.
We don’t claim credit for this but you can bet we will when McCarran-Ferguson is ditched for the rest of the industry. Politically if the GOP wants to carry water for big insurance I would urge the leadership to expose it by holding votes on these issues. As today’s vote illustrates the big business bootlickers in Team GOP go running for the hills faster than a bad faith insurer when the spotlight is shined upon them.
Rather than reinvent the wheel I’ll link Madam Speaker’s coverage of this topic which is very good:
By a vote of 406-19, the House passed the Health Insurance Industry Fair Competition Act (HR 4626), introduced by Reps. Tom Perriello (D-VA) and Betsy Markey (D-CO). This bill is designed to restore competition and transparency to the health insurance market – by repealing the blanket antitrust exemption afforded to health insurance companies by the McCarran-Ferguson Act of 1945. Under this legislation, health insurers will no longer be shielded from legal accountability for price fixing, dividing up territories among themselves, sabotaging their competitors in order to gain monopoly power, and other such anti-competitive practices.
Over the last several years, the health insurance industry has become increasingly concentrated–giving consumers fewer and fewer meaningful choices in shopping for health insurance. According to a recent study by the AMA, there have been more than 400 mergers among health insurers in the past 14 years and as this map shows, many areas of our country are dominated by just one or two private insurers today.