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Doctors Applaud House Vote to Remove Anti-Trust Exemption for Health Insurers
Date:2/25/2010

Outlawing Health Insurance Monopolies Would Be Good for Doctors, Patients

OAKLAND, Calif., Feb. 25 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- "This vote is an important step towards breaking the monopoly power of some health insurers," responded Dr. Stuart Bussey, President of the Union of American Physicians and Dentists (UAPD), to the news of a vote taken Wednesday by the US House of Representatives.   The House passed the Health Insurance Industry Fair Competition Act (HR 4626), which rolls back the anti-trust exemptions that the insurance industry has enjoyed since the passage of the McCarran Ferguson Act in 1945.  Representatives voted 406-19 in favor of the bill, which received strong support from the White House earlier in the week.  The bill now moves to the Senate for consideration.

Many believe that their exemption from federal anti-trust law has allowed some players in the insurance industry to gain too much power. "Right now, the health insurance industry is highly concentrated, and the lack of competition hurts doctors as well as patients," according to Dr. Bussey of UAPD.  "When an insurer dominates the market, doctors in that area can either follow that company's rules or go out of business – the insurer gets too much power over the practice of medicine."  

Bussey is optimistic that HR 4626 could change that.  "Getting rid of the anti-trust exemption for health insurers will allow the federal government to step in to break up the monopolies that have formed.  It will open the door to competition.  It's good for everyone—except insurance industry executives."  

Introduced by Reps. Tom Perriello (D-VA) and Betsy Markey (D-CO), HR 4626 is similar to language that was included in the health care reform package that was passed by the House last year.  That language was not included in the version of the health care reform bill being considered by the Senate.  After President Barack Obama spoke favorably of HR 4626 on Tuesday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi indicated that the bill would be brought quickly to a vote.      

The Union of American Physicians and Dentists (UAPD) is the largest union of fully-licensed doctors in the United States.  Founded in 1972, UAPD represents doctors working in both the public sector and private practice.  UAPD has a record of advocating for the repeal of the anti-trust exemptions created by the McCarran Ferguson Act.  

SOURCE Union of American Physicians and Dentists

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SOURCE Union of American Physicians and Dentists
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