Senate Democrats Continue Pursuit Of Insurers’ Antitrust Exemption
"Top Senate Democrats intend to try to strip the health insurance industry of its exemption from federal antitrust laws, according to congressional officials, the latest evidence of a deepening struggle over President Barack Obama's effort to overhaul the health care industry," the Associated Press/Boston Globe reports. Top senators, including Harry Reid, D-Nev., the majority leader, Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., chairman of the Judiciary Committee, and Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., planned to announce their strategy Wednesday.
The change would bring new regulations unto the industry, which views the push as a revenge attempt in response to recent insurance industry criticisms of the broader health reform bills. An industry group said insurers are already among the most heavily regulated companies (Espo, 10/21).
Sponsors of a similar bill in the House will attempt to add it to the much broader health reform legislation when it passes through the Rules Committee, The Hill reports. The House Judiciary Committee is expected to vote on the bill Wednesday. Rep. Diana DeGette, D-Colo., a co-sponsor of the bill, said, "There are only two industries with that exemption: insurance and Major League Baseball. If it ever had a rationale, it's no longer operative" (Soraghan, 10/21).