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AHIP on H.R. 4626: It Won't Make Affordable Health Insurance

Armen Hareyan's picture

As the House started to taking on the health insurance antitrust repeal, AHIP released a statemet saying let's focus on real reform that will not make health insurance more affordable.

This health insurance industry anti-trust repeal bill, H.R. 4626 is a stand-alone bill. It is also called the "Health Insurance Industry Fair Competition Act." Reps. Tom Perriello (D-VA-05) and Betsy Markey (D-CO-04) bought the bill to the floor.

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The goal is to not allow the health insurance companies to fix prices or to engage in a practice similar to these. The Nation writes that the McCarran-Ferguson Act exempted the health insurance companies from the anti-trust regulations and since 1945, these companies have been allowed to collude to fix prices.

Now, if this bill succeeds, health coverage providers will not be exempted from antitrust regulations. Observers say it will lead to lower health insurance premiums, making them more affordable for average person. If currently the companies are fixing the prices, this is not good for an average person who is struggling to pay for health care.

Yet, America's Health Insurance Plans (AHIP) seems to oppose the bill. It's president Karen Ignagni released a statement on H.R. 4626 saying it won't make health insurance affordable. Instead there is a need to focus on "real reform" and contain costs.

Ignagni, in her statement, says “in attempting to solve a problem that doesn’t exist, this legislation is the triumph of sound bites over substance. The Congressional Budget Office has said that passage of this legislation will do nothing to reduce health care costs. Moreover, according to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, anti-competitive ‘activities are not permitted under the McCarran-Ferguson Act and are not tolerated under state law.’ Real reform means containing costs to ensure that health care is affordable for working families and small businesses. It’s time to clear the political hurdles that stand in the way of real cost containment.”