Thursday, October 15, 2009

Healthcare Reform: If you can't get a Public Option, repeal the McCarran-Ferguson Act

The calls are growing louder to repeal a little known law that exempts the Health Insurance Industry from Federal Antitrust laws. On Wednesday, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee about the competitive advantage that the Health Insurance Industry has due to the exemption that the McCarran-Ferguson Act gives the industry from Federal Antitrust laws. This latest salvo comes in response to a questionable report from the Health Insurance Industry that if the current Senate Bill becomes law, that premiums will skyrocket for all Americans. Passed back in 1945, the McCarran-Ferguson Act exempted the fledgling Health Insurance Industry from antitrust laws. Only Major League Baseball is exempt from antitrust laws in the same way.

This exemption has allowed the Health Insurance Industry to work together to collectively establish rates on premiums and manipulate other costs associated with payments to doctors for treatments. We see how well being exempt from antitrust laws has helped Major League Baseball - with multi-million dollar contracts for players and billion dollar ballparks in NTC. The affordability of going to a Major League Baseball game has long since left the average American to enjoy a day a the ballpark with their family. Now, the affordability of Health Insurance is beginning to cripple the financial underpinnings of the nation.

Most Americans, I'm willing to assume, didn't know that the Health Insurance Industry was exempt from Federal Antitrust laws. If Congress repeals the law, it would allow them to break up large Health Insurance Companies the same way that they did to Ma Bell (AT &T) back in the 1980s. This make the most sense, and if the Health Insurance Industry wants to compete across state lines, then do it without the security blanket of the McCarran-Ferguson Act.


  1. My younger brother Jeff is the shame of the Degan family. He not only lives in France, he actually likes it there. He has a French wife and two gorgeous little French daughters. Honestly I think the guy is a closet commie. Back in August, in a letter to his fellow countrymen and women regarding health care, he ended it by saying:

    "In short, in the US, you pay more, get less, and die younger than we do in Europe. What part of that don't you understand?"

    Well, hey there! That's a danged good question! What part of that don't we understand? Why is it that so many of us have to be dragged, kicking and screaming like half-witted little preschoolers, into the brave new world of change? What the hell is the matter with us anyway? How can it be that such a huge number of Americans cheerfully join movements of mass stupidity and salivate on cue to the sound of Dr. Glenn "Pavlov" Beck's bell? It kind of makes you wonder, huh?

    Tom Degan
    Goshen, NY

  2. Tom, Healthcare Reform is just one of the many things that we just don't get (as a nation). For example, conservatives always talk about the size of government being too big and our taxes are so high that it's hurting the economic growth of the nation, all the while our roads, bridges, overpasses, electrical systems, sewage systems, everything that can be considered as infrastructure, is falling appart. These things have more of an impact on economic growth than the income taxes that I pay.

    If we don't fix this stuff, they won't have to worry about paying income tax because they won't be able to earn a living because they can't get to work or have the stuff they produce leave the plant to be sold. So, what do we want? Pay no taxes or have no roads to go to work to earn a living?

    Oh yeah, Healthcare Reform... Why are the Democrats still playing around with the Health Insurance Industry? Why should they be exempt from Federal antitrust laws? Why isn't the rest of the nation calling them out on this? No wonder health care costs are so out of control. They can get in a room with the rest of their Health Care Industry buddies and conspire to manipulate the market and keep jacking up premiums on everyone to keep getting their multi-million dollar salaries. Folks are screaming about socialized medicine and they are being robbed blind.

    We get the government we deserve...