U.S. House Passes Repeal of Health Insurers’ Antitrust Exemption

By | February 24, 2010

  • February 25, 2010 at 7:14 am
    bill says:
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    omg, you are right on target.

  • February 25, 2010 at 7:34 am
    Gotta say it says:
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    The Republicans can say they have a plan or have been ingnored all they want. Where was their plan when they had the President in the whitehouse and the majorities in the sentate and house? They have been dragged kicking and screaming into this whole thing. Their actions in recent history do not match their talk. I don’t trust them any longer.

  • February 25, 2010 at 7:41 am
    Gotta Say it says:
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    And why do you think Medicare is broke? Medicare Part D. (Republican designed and enacted) added an $8 billion unfunded liability to the program. After the first $2,000 of covered drugs a Medicare recipient must endure a $3500 retention before the government kicks in for more drug coverage. Can your parents afford that? Who is this supposed to help anyway? Nice going Republicans.

  • February 25, 2010 at 8:11 am
    Bill says:
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    IN case I am missing sometning, republicans and democrats are part of the federal govt., which has performed far less than satisfactory in a miriad of pourly managed programs. that being the case, the main difference in the position of dems vs republ, is that republicans are willing to admit it. While healthcare may need to be fixed, it is too important to turn over to the fed to fix it. The system does not need to be scrapped; it needs to be improved. And by the way, ONLY Congress can approve spending one red cent; and that Congress is currently dominated by Dems. So if you don’t like the way the Republ have spent money (carelessly , you certainly would not want the Dems to do more of the same (wrecklessly). I don’t want a national health plan – not a Republican plan and not a dem plan.

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  • February 25, 2010 at 10:21 am
    fed up says:
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    If Iowans are hurting now, just wait until they have to pay for the Obama healthcare – 18% will look like a drop in the bucket.

  • February 25, 2010 at 10:49 am
    Rick says:
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    That’s right, jerks – shoot the messenger

  • February 25, 2010 at 12:48 pm
    Lou says:
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    This is nuts. The Feds cannot do anything right and every decision they make is politically tainted. Welcome to chaos and the beginning of the end of our great system. The problem is not with insurance companies or the providers. The problem is that we are overtaxed and over regulated at every level and the prices of health insurance are symptomatic of deeper problems. Get out of debt and hunker down.

  • February 25, 2010 at 12:49 pm
    Charlie says:
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    HAS TO BE BETTER THAN THE PRESENT )$(#@&_
    system!

    Maybe repeal of the antitrust protection will finally wake up the industry and have them stop their knee jerk reactions.

    Hmmm Wellpoint tries to justify an up to 39% rate increase for single payers and gives their CEO a $8,000,000+ package. Something is DEFINITELY wrong there.

  • February 25, 2010 at 12:57 pm
    Pat Beranger says:
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    “Knee jerk” is buying Obama’s plan under the rationale that “something is better than nothing.” It is not.

    Repeal of the anti-trust exemption is nothing more than a soundbite to pander for votes. It sounds good, but in the end it will reduce competition as smaller carriers will not have the access to data necessary for the law of large numbers to work. The way to fix this is to reduce costs (e.g., malpractice/tort reform) and to increase competition (e.g., allow health insurers to write across state lines).

    I’m sure this will not sound non partisan, but it is: The GOP option is much closer to a plan that addresses both long-term and root cause.

  • February 25, 2010 at 12:59 pm
    John Scrader says:
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    I agree we are over taxed. But I totally disagree that health insurance companies are fair in claims handling. I’m a P&C agent, I know how to read insurance policies. A couple of years ago I had an identical problem with two teeth and had dental surgery. The insurance co paid for one tooth but not the other.

    The policy language was clear as day, the procedure was covered. They claimed it was not “medically necessary” to have it done on both teeth.

    From all the research I have done on health insurance, policies could be written with one sentence. “We will cover anything we deem medically necessary. This term is the end all be all scape goat clause in health policies.

    I argued with my State insurance department. What a joke that was-completely useless.

    Health companies need to held to the same standards as P&C. In my opinion, they are not. This anti-trust is rec is a step in the right direction.

  • February 25, 2010 at 1:22 am
    Bill the agent says:
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    Pat hit the bullseye. Just re-read her post. The primary reason for runaway costs is tort law (aka “legalized extortion) and cost shifting from government plans to private plans. When government attempts to artificially lower costs, these costs do not “go away”; they simply go somewhere else (to PRIVATE plans and individuals)! Finally, the LIMITED anti-trust exemption, which narrowly allows the sharing of loss/expense data INCREASES competition and keeps costs as low as possible. This “limited” anti-trust exemption DOES NOT protect insurers from anti-trust penalties. This is another distraction to avoid dealing with the real causes of runaway health expense – TORT abuse, Defensive Medicine and cost-shifting.

  • February 25, 2010 at 1:41 am
    Mike N says:
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    I agree, but with soime additions. State legislatures, like here in California (i.e. HELL), have larded up basic insurance policies with coverage requirements, to the point of driving costs up dramatically.

    Case in point, last year the California legislature passed a requirement for ALL health plans to cover the same dollars in mental health as in physical health. Is there anyone on the planet that cannot see how this would drive premiums up? This is essentailly a requirement for ALL health plans to have potentially double the liability for each and every policy holder. That is INSANE! Quite frankly, it’s primarily the legislature that needs the mental health plans.

  • February 25, 2010 at 1:45 am
    Mike N says:
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    If you are truly and agent, a call to your insurer’s rep would most likely have had this entire thing cleared up. Teh anti-trust provisions would have nothing to do with your claim. You would merely have to pay a lawyer to attack the smae problem. So, as you can well see, the anti-trust stuff is merely a farce, meant to try and strong-arm companies into putting their policy-holders and shareholders in peril by helping to enact a terrible, big-government bill, that destroys doctors, care and choice.

  • February 25, 2010 at 2:42 am
    omg says:
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    i do not know why one of the obvious reasons for such high health care costs is never mentioned. illegal immigrants are a drain on all medical care providers and hospitals due to the unreimbursed costs for treatment provided on people who can not be turned away. i know for a fact this costs the industry billions every year, costs all of us pick up in our increased premiums. wake up america and address the issue and solution right in front of your face.

  • February 25, 2010 at 3:24 am
    Gotta say it says:
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    Let’s look at something that involves government. Medicare. Since the creation of medicare, life expectancy has risen quite nicely. Sure, there is waste and inefficiency. There is plenty of that in the private insurance word too. We have to fix that. It’s a never ending battle. But, the basic goal was to provide healthcare for those who would otherwise go without. The result is that less people suffered and died needlessly because they could not find healthcare. So, why is it bad to provide the same solutions for other segments of society? I think we are learning now that just saying “no” all the time will not work. It is ironic that the last major expansion of the government into healthcare was engineered by the Republicans (Medicare Part D). This could be the ruination of Medicare. For one thing, it forbids the governement to use it’s major purchasing clout to reduce drug prices. So the government is force to pay top dollar for drugs. More waste and inefficiency. Nice going Republicans. You say one thing but do the other. No wonder people have a bad feeling about government. Looks to me it’s more the misuse of government we have to watch out for. Repubs never practice what they preach. Look at the past 3 Repub Presidents and the deficits created or made worse under their watch. Trust a Republican to manage my tax dollars? Never!

  • February 26, 2010 at 3:44 am
    Fed up 2 says:
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    Shut up, Elliott. You’re just upset that you and your illiterate boss don’t get to push around and extort health insurers any more. Don’t worry, you’ll still get your cut from the P&C industry.

  • February 25, 2010 at 4:08 am
    Bill says:
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    Mike’s California plan is an example of what is wrong when government, and not the free market (supply and demand), are placed in charge of commodity programs. When you mandate benefits, they must be PAID FOR! The government, having no cost restraints themselves, would mandate UNLIMITED coverage and UNLIMITED availability with NO obligation on the part of individuals to do their part, to take steps to maintain their own health, and to exercise good health practices (preventive medicine, checkups, et.al..). This is exactly what has happened to Medicare (including Part D), Medicaid and Social Security benefits – Just give people (voters) more “free” benefits, and let taxpayers and future generations worry about how to pay for it. We could take a lesson from what does NOT work in California (which accounts for slightly less than 1/6th of our economy). The question is, do we want to adopt national
    plans and programs that will result in 6 times the mess that California finds itself in? 70% of our citizens do not want what is being shoved down our throats..

  • February 25, 2010 at 4:15 am
    Mark H says:
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    “Is there anyone on the planet that cannot see how this would drive premiums up?”

    Yes Mike, there are many who can not see this… and most of the them are running (ruining) our once great nation.

  • February 25, 2010 at 4:15 am
    TX Agentman says:
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    And Medicare has been running in the red for years. The problem is that our Nation can not AFFORD nationalized health care. And “repubs” do have a plan, its just that the dems are not listening. Tort reform, getting rid of lawsuits that are caused becuase a doctor didn’t pratice “defensive medicine”. Lower the cost of health CARE, then the price of health INSURANCE will follow suit. Now, I have a question. Why is it that the other countries get our RXs much lower then us? Do they have price controls? If so, it would make sense that we in the states pay a heck of a lot more, because the RX companies are most likely losing their shirts selling to those countries, so they have the jack up the price here to cover their loss. Its just a theory. I have to do more research to verify if that is correct or not. Here is another thought, please let me know if I am wrong. There are thousands of people that get treatment and then never pay their hospital bills. Do you think that the hospitals jack up the bill for John Doe if he has health insurance to cover their losses on the people that don’t pay? I’d like to think that doesn’t happen, but hey, we don’t live in a world were everything is fair. I remember seening an episode of Scrubs were there was a father that was undergoing treatment for some sickness, but later on in the show, you find out that its the daughter that has been with the father the whole time that has the sickness and he has been giving the meds to her because she doesn’t have insurance, and the doctors play along. Obvouisly that has happened at least a dozen times before, how often does that happen? What lesson is that teaching the public? How to scam the insurance companies? Help cut down on fraud, cost will go down as well.

  • February 25, 2010 at 4:57 am
    matt says:
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    Agentman, agreed! But want to add 2 things…

    1) Yes we need to address cost, but we cannot address cost until we address health itself — something which has been on sharp decline. Look at school photos now versus 20 years ago- kids are much, much bigger. Cost will never go down if we never get healthier.

    2) Yes we COULD afford nationalized health care, if we could stop the war machine. Don’t our Iraq/Afghan wars now exceed the cost of WWII on an inflation-adjusted basis? Our 2010 budget is 800 billion. Can’t even a fraction of that pay for health care, for everyone? Why the hell don’t we do that instead of buying some more F-22’s we don’t need? Or maybe we shouldn’t be paying to have half a million troops in the desert?

    Back in the day it was guns OR butter.

    Under Bush II, it was guns, more guns, tax cuts for the rich, lots of butter, plus the largest entitlement program enacted in decades (medicare Part D) which the Republicans passed UNFUNDED.

    I think we can clearly see the source of the problem. Instead of helping our own, we basically got wasted and had a huge orgy. Now everything predictably has gone to hell, and the same people responsible for the problem want to blame Obama and throw stones at any idea he has, regardless of the content.

  • February 25, 2010 at 5:14 am
    Bill says:
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    Why is it so essential to destroy a system covering 270 million people, when the problem is providing coverage to 30 million?
    Would the federal government be willing to provide the same tort protections to private insurers, doctors, hospitals, etc..
    it claims for itself?
    Does anyone see anything wrong with the way our Fed has managed our Medicare and Social Security “Trust” accounts?
    Are we happy with the way our Fed government has managed our Banking system?
    What, exactly, makes anyone think that our Fed government has any idea how to manage healthcare?

  • February 25, 2010 at 5:15 am
    Mike N says:
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    This has to be one of the most short-sighted, foolish arguments I have ever seen offered. Facts about Medicare:

    – Medicare is broke.
    – Medicare currently has trillions in unfunded liabilities (i.e. that program you are so high on is breaking the backs of our taxpayers already, and will do more so as we progress).
    – Medicare is eating up more and more of our rtas dollars each year, because it is an unfunded moneypit.
    – The leftists are trying to cut your precious program, all in order to try and buy votes from suckers like you.

    As Daniel Patrick Moynihan said “boob bait for bubbas”. Must one be lobotomized to be a democrat these days? Sorry, stupid question.



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