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WASHINGTON—Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., urged his colleagues Wednesday to add an amendment to health care reform legislation that would strip health insurers of their limited antitrust exemption.
Sen. Schumer, a co-sponsor of the Health Insurance Industry Antitrust Enforcement Act introduced last month, made his call one day after the Senate Finance Committee approved a health care reform bill. Insurers enjoy a limited antitrust exemption under the McCarran-Ferguson Act.
The health insurance industry’s “antitrust exemption is one of the worst accidents of American history,” Sen. Schumer said in a statement. “It deserves a lot of the blame for the huge rise in premiums that has made health insurance so unaffordable. It is time to end this special status and bring true competition to the health insurance industry.”
Sen. Schumer said the amendment to repeal the limited antitrust exemption should be attached to health reform legislation when it reaches the Senate floor later this year.
On a related front, a measure that would end health insurers’ antitrust exemption was introduced in the House last month.