Thursday, February 25, 2010

Insurance Antitrust Enforcement Act

Dear [Dredd],

Last fall I wrote you about the sweetheart deal insurance companies have had since they were exempted from federal antitrust laws in 1945. Shielded from this scrutiny, the exemption has helped the insurance industry to put profits before people, cherry-pick customers, and deny coverage to patients when they fall ill.

They've had a great setup. Last year alone, the top five U.S. health care insurance companies made $12 billion in profits while dropping 2.7 million Americans from their insurance rolls.

Thank you for joining more than 43,000 community activists to write Congress, urging your representatives to eliminate the antitrust exemption and force insurance companies to play by the same, good-competition rules as virtually every other business in America.

Our voices broke through the health insurance lobbyists who seem to be everywhere you look around Washington these days, and TODAY the House of Representatives voted 406-19 to pass its version of the Health Insurance Industry Antitrust Enforcement Act.

Now it's up to the Senate to take up this bill and send it to President Obama's desk to be signed into law.

Now that the House has passed its version of the Health Insurance Industry Antitrust Enforcement Act, please click here to urge your friends to e-mail their Senators, too.

The health insurance industry should compete on a level playing field just like every other business in America, large and small, so that consumers know that the price they're being quoted is the product of a free and fair marketplace.

Like most Americans I'm frustrated with the slow pace of progress towards comprehensive health care reform, though I remain hopeful we'll get the sweeping reform we need soon.

But it is unclear whether or not the final health care reform bill Congress sends to the President's desk will include a provision to end the health insurance industry antitrust exemption. Even if it does, it could be severely weakened during the final round of negotiations in Congress.

That's why we must act now to pass the Health Insurance Industry Antitrust Enforcement Act as a standalone bill.

Now that the House has passed its version of the Health Insurance Industry Antitrust Enforcement Act, please click here to urge your friends to e-mail their Senators, too.

Ending the health insurance industry antitrust exemption will promote competition and consumer choice, though it is not the only reform we need. But it's a critical component of reform, and one I believe is best achieved by passing the House version of the Health Insurance Industry Antitrust Enforcement Act into law as soon as possible.

Thank you for taking action.


Patrick Leahy
U.S. Senator


  1. I've been listening to the HC Forum all day CNN. What a complete joke! Two observations.

    The GOP is not now, nor will they ever either give in on this issue OR deal in good faith. They are simply incorrigible. The Democrats will have to either ram this thing through or nothing will happen. I'm betting on the latter. GOP offers to "let's agree to act on the few things that we can agree on" is just another Trojan horse to stonewall the effort yet again.

    Its not hard to figure out WHY these bullshit session never get anything done. EVERY speaker wastes at least one minute introducing themselves and thanking everybody in the room for being there. CUT THE BULLSHIT ALREADY! Have one person do the introductions at the start of the day, then get on with it. Have a neutral moderator on hand to cut off anyone who starts speechifying. Lunch? Brown bag in place. Breaks? Take 'em as you need 'em individually, but no mass breaks. These sorry bastards need to glue their asses in their seats and get some shit done already!

    And then there's John McCain. Why do they even let that stupid ass in the front door? The good people of Arizona need to have their fucking heads examined for electing this idiot. I can't even imagine where we'd be if he was in the WH, and Palin was riding shotgun.

  2. disaffected,

    George Lakoff's post I linked to a couple of posts ago (here) where he explained that their frame of mind allows them to co-sponsor a bill then vote against it.

    He says we should understand their world view which controls everything else they do.