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  •  Is antitrust repeal our tort reform (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Bush Bites, MariaWr

    Is it a good talking point that will make little difference in reality?

    This article got me to wondering

    Blame less insurance competition on antitrust regulators, not a law
    November 02, 2009|MICHAEL HILTZIK

    The antitrust exemption supposedly comes from the McCarran-Ferguson Act, which was passed in 1945 to protect state regulation of insurance companies, and also to allow insurers to share loss data with each other without being haled into federal court on antitrust or collusion charges.

    Yet the McCarran-Ferguson Act turns out to be a red herring, like the guy fingered as the murderer in the first act of any "Law & Order." As fans of the program know, that doesn't mean no crime has been committed, only that one should look elsewhere for the guilty party.

    There's plenty of guilt to go around. But the McCarran Act has done almost nothing to foster the consolidation of the health insurance industry. For one thing, health insurers don't typically share data in the manner that the exemption allows. Moreover, the courts have interpreted the law so narrowly that it doesn't exempt insurance mergers from federal scrutiny.

    The real culprits are federal antitrust authorities, whose approach to health insurance mergers can best be described as supine. In other words, the truly effective antitrust immunity the industry has received has come not from lawmakers but from federal regulators.

    As David Balto, an antitrust attorney working for the liberal Center for American Progress, told Congress in 2008, over the previous 10 years there had been more than 400 health insurance mergers. Only two drew challenges from antitrust regulators at the Department of Justice.

    Maybe the only thing repeal will do is give Congress something to say "Yes we can."

    •  "End the insurance company monopolies!" (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      MariaWr

      You need something simpler: Half the country doesn't know what "anti-trust" means.

      Bush Bites is a subsidiary of Bush Bites Inc., a registered corporate personhood.

      by Bush Bites on Mon Feb 22, 2010 at 07:08:41 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Just reread your post. (0+ / 0-)

      Sorry, this sounds like a wingnut argument.

      "No point in regulating them because the justice department won't do anything anyway."

      As for them having the power now, I just don't believe it. The insurance companies have an anti-trust exemption written into law. The justice department must know that the insurance companies could pull that out of their back pocket any time they're taken into court, so probably don't even bother trying to bring a case against them, because the result is already pre-cooked.

      Look at the time frame used in the article too:

      As David Balto, an antitrust attorney working for the liberal Center for American Progress, told Congress in 2008, over the previous 10 years there had been more than 400 health insurance mergers. Only two drew challenges from antitrust regulators at the Department of Justice.

      So that's the last two years of the corporate-loving Clinton Administration, who also didn't stand in the way of oil company, energy company and telecom megamergers; and the Bush Administration, who didn't stand in the way of corporate anything.

      Actually, this proposal could have the effect of encouraging less corporate favoritism in the White House because voters will be seeing a direct effect between the actions of the White House's justice department and their insurance bills.

      Bush Bites is a subsidiary of Bush Bites Inc., a registered corporate personhood.

      by Bush Bites on Mon Feb 22, 2010 at 07:25:56 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

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