Who Hijacked Our Country

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Health Insurance Companies Exempt from Anti-Trust Laws

Did you know about this? I had no idea until I got an e-mail the other day.

The McCarran-Ferguson Act of 1945 exempts health insurance companies from the federal anti-trust legislation that applies to most other businesses. WTF???

This outdated law (if it was ever “in” date) might finally be corrected. Senator Patrick Leahy and Rep. John Conyers have introduced the Health Insurance Industry Antitrust Enforcement Act — S. 1681 and H.R. 3596 respectively — to break up the health insurance monopoly and force these companies to actually compete. What a concept.

Whether or not they ever have to compete with that commie government option, they’ll at least be competing with each other. For a change.

It’ll be fun to hear those “free enterprise” “market forces” Republicans shouting and squealing against a bill that promotes competition. And you know they will.

If you’re ready to break up the health insurance monopoly, tell your senators and your congressional representative. Enough is enough.

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Blogger Holte Ender said...

In 1945, the majority of health insurance companies were non-profit, the explosion in mega for-profit companies started in 1980s (figures), so I suppose McCarran-Ferguson of 1945 could have slipped under the radar. It will be interesting to hear the reasons the republicans put forth against any changes in the law.

September 29, 2009 at 3:07 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Holte: That's true, the law probably made sense 64 years ago. But it's way past its pull date now. The wingnuts will definitely fight any attempts to repeal it.

September 29, 2009 at 4:39 PM  
Anonymous Bee said...

It was supposed to slip under the radar. That's how the game is rigged, be it roulette or mega-industry.

I am spitting mad. Not at all surprised, but spitting mad nonetheless.

September 29, 2009 at 5:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Unless someone was extremely foresighted. 1945 was not a Big era for monopolies and the mega corporations of then were peanuts compared to what they've become in the past 25 years. It really may have been something to help a developing industry as New Deal ideas where having companies think about benefits for the first time and maybe the Unions were just starting to get health insurance for their members.

I just have a hard time believing this.

In the 1970's someone convinced the California Legislature to give the Insurance company's some exemptions including opening their books, which was one of the straws which lead to the Insurance Initiative Prop 103


September 29, 2009 at 5:34 PM  
Blogger Lew Scannon said...

This is good, millions of people going broke or without health care because the insurance companies have a monopoly.

September 29, 2009 at 6:13 PM  
Anonymous Carlos said...

Somehow that doesn't surprise me.

September 30, 2009 at 2:34 AM  
Blogger Randal Graves said...

I don't mind a monopoly as long as I can still collect rent on Ventnor.

September 30, 2009 at 6:10 AM  
Blogger lisa said...

Well the democrats have the majority now,let them reform it. Me thinks they don't want any type of reform just the continuation of demonization to get more people on their side so they can be the one and only.
Now that they own the student loan program and 90% of the mortgage industry so they can be the only ones getting perks and then when they own all financial institutes then they own us too. Own the money,own the people.

Don't be crying that governemnt has all this power you guys were crying about for the last 8 years.

September 30, 2009 at 9:48 AM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Bee: That's a good description -- not surprised, but spitting mad.

Erik: That's true, in 1945 there was probably more of a feeling of "we're all in this together," and what was good for business really was good for America.

Good old Prop 103. I'll never forget all the raging battles and the jillions of dollars the insurance industry spent fighting it, and it still passed.

Lew: It figures, doesn't it.

Carlos: Nope, not a bit surprising.

Randal: Except today's dollars are worth less than Monopoly dollars.

Lisa: "Well the democrats have the majority now,let them reform it." My sentiments exactly. One can only have so much anger and fury towards sleazy Republicans. After a point some of that anger has to go to those cowering spineless Democrats who won't stand up and do what they have to do.

September 30, 2009 at 10:18 AM  
Anonymous S.W. Anderson said...

Good for Leahy and Conyers — two of the best in Congress. I hope their bills succeed. And yes, Republicans will have to be more creative with the truth than usual to defend the status quo on this one. But given how comfortable they are with making stuff up and flat-out lying, I'm sure they'll manage.

That said, don't expect too much. One of the things big business has become most adept at over the last 50 or 60 years is working their way around antitrust laws. With the help of modern telecommunications, it must be easier than ever.

September 30, 2009 at 10:40 AM  
Anonymous S.W. Anderson said...

Lisa wrote: "Own the money,own the people."

Thank you for making that conservative Republican/libertarian "ethic" perfectly clear. I'm sure St. Ronald is smiling down on you from above. Hell, if George W. Bush was still president, he might even award you a Medal of Freedom for that one — he's that perverse.

September 30, 2009 at 10:44 AM  
Blogger lisa said...

Tom I think they are afraid to vote on it because when it goes sour they don't want to take the entire blame for it.

September 30, 2009 at 11:46 AM  
Anonymous JollyRoger said...

lisa, I'd think you'd be all for insurance reform, since I'm assuming that you don't seek treatment for your obvious problems due to the costs involved.

Oh, and while I'm thinking about it... on behalf of the public educational system, I'd like to apologize to you. You were failed, badly.

September 30, 2009 at 11:58 AM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

SW: Sad but true. Even if this law does get passed, the HMOs will find a way to dodge and slink and ooze around it.

Yes, a Medal of Freedom for Lisa.

JR: Yes, poor Lisa was failed by the educational system.

September 30, 2009 at 1:01 PM  
Blogger lisa said...

I know I wasn't indoctinated.

September 30, 2009 at 2:14 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

"I know I wasn't indoctinated." That's exactly what FreedomWorks and AHIP told you to say. Job well done.

September 30, 2009 at 6:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You need think about it. Despite the emails, the overwhelming evidence showing global warming is happening hasn't changed.
"The e-mails do nothing to undermine the very strong scientific consensus . . . that tells us the Earth is warming, that warming is largely a result of human activity," Jane Lubchenco, who heads the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, told a House committee. She said that the e-mails don't cover data from NOAA and NASA, whose independent climate records show dramatic warming.

December 10, 2009 at 1:14 PM  

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