|Congressman Carson Votes to Restore Competition, Fairness in Health Insurance Marketplace|
February 26, 2010
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Congressman Andre Carson voted to ensure that Hoosiers get a real choice and a fair deal when purchasing health insurance. The Health Insurance Industry Fair Competition Act would repeal the anti-trust exemption for health insurance companies, requiring them to compete fairly and adhere to the same anti-trust laws as other companies.
"For too long, Hoosiers have been taken advantage of by health insurance companies that don't play by the rules," said Congressman Carson. "Middle-class families are facing higher premiums at a lower quality of coverage and limited choices - all while the insurance companies are raising prices and turning over record profits."
For 65 years, the health insurance industry has been legally exempt from anti-trust laws, and the federal government was banned from even investigating evidence of possible collusion. In the last 14 years alone, there have been 400 mergers among health insurers and some 94 percent of all insurance markets are highly concentrated - thus leaving little or no choice between insurance providers.
"There are only two industries that are exempt from anti-trust laws - health insurance companies and major league baseball," said Congressman Carson. "It's about time we repeal this exemption for health insurers so my constituents have choices when shopping around for something as crucial as health insurance."
Health insurers that were previously exempt from anti-trust laws will now bear legal responsibility for price fixing, dividing up territories among themselves and sabotaging their competitors in order to gain a monopoly in the marketplace. Such practices have been outlawed in other industries for decades.
"Competition is the core principle of our economy," said Congressman Carson. "And for consumers, it is a guarantee of two things: more choices and lower costs. Competition is the engine that drives economic growth, spurs American innovation and ensures a level of fairness for consumers. Since this bill overwhelmingly passed today in the House, I believe it is a telling sign that we can work together on healthcare reform."
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